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Retrievable Payload Carrier (RPC): Next generation Long Duration Exposure FacilityThe Retrievable Payload Carrier (RPC) is described which is a multi-experiment, free-flyer spacecraft being privately developed to make in-space experimentation more accessible and economically feasible for research and development organizations. The carrier concept was derived from NASA's highly successful and flight proven Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). The LDEF capabilities were enhanced to meet new customer requirements. This reusable payload carrier is planned for launch and retrieval by the space shuttle on a regular basis. The RPC's compact design facilitates flexible manifesting of the shuttle cargo bay space, thereby, permitting timely launches and retrievals. The vehicle is designed so that either the entire carrier can be retrieved from orbit, or individual experiment pallets can be removed and replaced in orbit. This gives customers even greater control over their experiment recoveries. A fully operational RPC System consists of: (1) a carrier spacecraft; (2) a ground control station for communication with customer payloads and the carrier; (3) a ground processing facility to provide refurbishment, final checkout, and integration of customer payloads and the carrier; and (4) the personnel required to support both the development and operation phases of the program. Customer payloads will fly 6 to 18 month missions, or longer, as required. Spreading launch, operations, and retrieval costs over multiple experimental payloads results in minimized customer costs. The RPC Program's initial objective is to operate a simple carrier system which meets basic customer service needs.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Perry, Arthur T.
(American Space Technology, Inc. Santa Monica, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: NASA, Langley Research Center, First LDEF Post-Retrieval Symposium Abstracts
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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