Just in Time in Space or Space Based JITOur satellite systems are mega-buck items. In today's cost conscious world, we need to reduce the overall costs of satellites if our space program is to survive. One way to accomplish this would be through on-orbit maintenance of parts on the orbiting craft. In order to accomplish maintenance at a low cost I advance the hypothesis of having parts and pieces (spares) waiting. Waiting in the sense of having something when you need it, or just-in-time. The JIT concept can actually be applied to space processes. Its definition has to be changed just enough to encompass the needs of space. Our space engineers tell us which parts and pieces the satellite systems might be needing once in orbit. These items are stored in space for the time of need and can be ready when they are needed -- or Space Based JIT. When a system has a problem, the repair facility is near by and through human or robotics intervention, it can be brought back into service. Through a JIT process, overall system costs could be reduced as standardization of parts is built into satellite systems to facilitate reduced numbers of parts being stored. Launch costs will be contained as fewer spare pieces need to be included in the launch vehicle and the space program will continue to thrive even in this era of reduced budgets. The concept of using an orbiting parts servicer and human or robotics maintenance/repair capabilities would extend satellite life-cycle and reduce system replacement launches. Reductions of this nature throughout the satellite program result in cost savings.
VanOrsdel, Kathleen G. (Planning Research Corp. Colorado Springs, CO United States)
August 17, 2013
January 1, 1995
Publication: A Collection of Technical Papers from the 6th Space Logistics Symposium