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Mission Engineering of a Rapid Cycle Spacecraft Logistics FleetThe requirement for logistics re-supply of the International Space Station has provided a unique opportunity for engineering the implementation of NASA's first dedicated pressurized logistics carrier fleet. The NASA fleet is comprised of three Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLM) provided to NASA by the Italian Space Agency in return for operations time aboard the International Space Station. Marshall Space Flight Center was responsible for oversight of the hardware development from preliminary design through acceptance of the third flight unit, and currently manages the flight hardware sustaining engineering and mission engineering activities. The actual MPLM Mission began prior to NASA acceptance of the first flight unit in 1999 and will continue until the de-commission of the International Space Station that is planned for 20xx. Mission engineering of the MPLM program requires a broad focus on three distinct yet inter-related operations processes: pre-flight, flight operations, and post-flight turn-around. Within each primary area exist several complex subsets of distinct and inter-related activities. Pre-flight processing includes the evaluation of carrier hardware readiness for space flight. This includes integration of payload into the carrier, integration of the carrier into the launch vehicle, and integration of the carrier onto the orbital platform. Flight operations include the actual carrier operations during flight and any required real-time ground support. Post-flight processing includes de-integration of the carrier hardware from the launch vehicle, de-integration of the payload, and preparation for returning the carrier to pre-flight staging. Typical space operations are engineered around the requirements and objectives of a dedicated mission on a dedicated operational platform (i.e. Launch or Orbiting Vehicle). The MPLM, however, has expanded this envelope by requiring operations with both vehicles during flight as well as pre-launch and post-landing operations. These unique requirements combined with a success-oriented schedule of four flights within a ten-month period have provided numerous opportunities for understanding and improving operations processes. Furthermore, it has increased the knowledge base of future Payload Carrier and Launch Vehicle hardware and requirement developments. Discussion of the process flows and target areas for process improvement are provided in the subject paper. Special emphasis is also placed on supplying guidelines for hardware development. The combination of process knowledge and hardware development knowledge will provide a comprehensive overview for future vehicle developments as related to integration and transportation of payloads.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Holladay, Jon
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
McClendon, Randy
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Computer Programming And Software
Meeting Information
Space Ops 2002 Conference(Houston, TX)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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