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Access from Space: A New Perspective on NASA's Space Transportation Technology Requirements and OpportunitiesThe need for robust and reliable access from space is clearly demonstrated by the recent loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia; as well as the NASA s goals to get the Shuttle re-flying and extend its life, build new vehicles for space access, produce successful robotic landers and s a q k ret~rr? ~llisrions, and maximize the science content of ambitious outer planets missions that contain nuclear reactors which must be safe for re-entry after possible launch aborts. The technology lynch pin of access from space is hypersonic entry systems such the thermal protection system, along with navigation, guidance and control (NG&C). But it also extends to descent and landing systems such as parachutes, airbags and their control systems. Current space access technology maturation programs such as NASA s Next Generation Launch Technology (NGLT) program or the In-Space Propulsion (ISP) program focus on maturing laboratory demonstrated technologies for potential adoption by specific mission applications. A key requirement for these programs success is a suitable queue of innovative technologies and advanced concepts to mature, including mission concepts enabled by innovative, cross cutting technology advancements. When considering space access, propulsion often dominates the capability requirements, as well as the attention and resources. From the perspective of access from space some new cross cutting technology drivers come into view, along with some new capability opportunities. These include new miniature vehicles (micro, nano, and picosats), advanced automated systems (providing autonomous on-orbit inspection or landing site selection), and transformable aeroshells (to maximize capabilities and minimize weight). This paper provides an assessment of the technology drivers needed to meet future access from space mission requirements, along with the mission capabilities that can be envisioned from innovative, cross cutting access from space technology developments.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Rasky, Daniel J.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Space 2004 Conference and Exposition
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: September 28, 2004
End Date: September 30, 2004
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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