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Space Station the Next Logical Step

Space Station the Next Logical Step

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Jun 30, 2011
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07/01/2011

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"Someday
thedigitalclocksatCapeCanaveralwillagaincountdown
the
minutesandsecondstothelaunchofaSpaceShuttle.No
onewill
betakinganythingforgranted,though.Wewilllookacrossthelagoonandsandyflatstothelaunchingpadwithhopeandapprehension,Withtheloss
of
the
Challenger
anditscrew
of
seven,
_:=__
welearned,to
our
surprise,howmuchtheseadventuresintospace,
into
the
future,
meantousasapeople.Now,whentheshuttlesriftoff:-
....
fromtheirpads,wewillstudyas
_:
neverbeforethetrajectoryofthose
--"
awesomerocketsforreassurance
_
thatanew,vibrantseasonhasreturnedtocape
Canaveral.
Andwithitwillcometherenewalofaspaceprogramtemperedbytragedybutembo/denedbyanationalresolvetopushforwardintothisfrontierofhumanendeavor:"JohnNobleWilfordTheNewYorkTimesMarch6,1986
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ORIGINALPAGEPHOTOGRAPH
 
SpaceStation:
TheNextLogicalStep
byAndrewJ.Stofan*
TheUnitedStatesremainscommittedtothedevelopmentofapermanentlymannedSpaceStation.RecognizingthattheSpaceStationisessentialtoensuringAmericanleadershipinspaceduringthe1990'sandbeyond,PresidentReaganhascontinuedtoreaffirmhissupportforthedevelopmentoftheSpaceStation,mostrecentlyinhis1986StateoftheUnionaddress.Inthedecadesahead,theSpaceStationwillenableustocontinuetheexplorationanduseofspace,anenterpriseinwhichtheUnitedStatestraditionallyhasexcelled.ASpaceStationisbothapowerfulsymbolandapowerfultool.Itsvalueasameanstoleadershipisevident.TheSovietUnionmustcertainlyunderstandthis,fortheRussiansrecentlylaunchedthecoreelementofwhattheysayisamodularspacestationintendedtobepermanentlymanned.IbelievethatsuchleadershipintheyearsaheadmustbelongtotheUnitedStatesandthattheSpaceStationProgramuponwhichwe'veembarkedisthebestwaytosecureit.TheSpaceStationwas--andstillis--thenextlogicalstepforournationintheexplorationandutilizationofspace.
UnmannedFree-flyers
Asapermanentfacility,withacrewofsixtoeight,theSpaceStationwillprovideenhancedcapabilitiesinspacefortheUnitedStates.TheStationwillconsistofamodularmannedbaseaswellasseveralassociatedbutunmannedfree-flyers.Byusingbothmannedandunmannedsystems,theSpaceStationwillenjoythesubstantialadvantagesofferedbybothmodesofspaceflight.PeoplewillbeaboardtheStationbase,bringingcreativity,flexibility,andthehumancapabilitytoadjusttotheunforeseen.Machineswillbetheretoo,providingreliability,precision,andthesteadfastabilitytoperformtheroutineandrepetitiveaswellasthehighrisktasks.TheSpaceStationwillbehighlyversatile.Itwillbearesearchlaboratoryfortheconductofscienceandthedevelopmentofnewtechnologies.ItwillbeapermanentobservatoryenablingustolookdownattheEarthandupatthestars.Itwillprovidefacilitieswherenewproductscanbedevelopedandlatermanufactured.TheSpace
*AndrewJ.StofanistheNASAAssociateAdministratorforSpaceStation.
Stationwillalsobeaservicingfacilityforthemaintenanceandrepairofsatellites,astoragedepotforsuppliesandaplacetoassemblelargespacestructures.AstheSpaceStationevolves,itcouldbecomeatransportationnode,apointofcheckoutanddepartureformissionstogeosynchronousorbit,theplanets,andbeyond.TheSpaceStationisacivilendeavoroftheUnitedStates.ThePresidentapprovedtheprogrambaseduponcivilrequirementsandtheDepartmentofDefenseisnotaprogramparticipant.However,theSpaceStationwillbeanextremelyversatilenationalasset,andNASAbelievesthatinthefutureitisquitepossiblethattheDepartmentofDefensemightwellutilizetheSpaceStation'sresearchcapabilities.
RecentProgress
SignificantprogressintheSpaceStationprogramhasbeenmadeinthetwoandone-halfyearssincePresidentReagandirectedNASAtodeveloptheSpaceStation.FunctionalperformancerequirementshavebeendefinedtoguidethedefinitionanddesignofSpaceStationcapabilities.NASAhassetinmotionamajortechnology.programinsupportofSpaceStationdesignandoperation.Aspecialefforthasbeeninitiatedtobetterunderstandthepotentialforutilizationofautomationandrobotics(A&R)onboardtheStation,anda"flightteleroboticsystem"hasbeenidentifiedasakeywayfortheSpaceStationtoenhanceA&Rtechnologies.NASAandsevenindustryteamshavebeenconductingextensivesystemandsubsystemanalysesandwehavecompletedaSpaceStation"baselineconfiguration."InresponsetoadirectivebytheNASAAdministrator,athoroughreviewofSpaceStationdesignandworkpackageassignmentswasperformed.ACriticalEvaluationTaskForcereviewedtheSpaceStationbaselineconfigurationintermsoftheamountofextravehicularactivityrequiredforassemblyandmaintenanceoftheStation,launchcapacityoftheShuttlefleetwhenagainoperational,assemblysequence,andoveralltechnicalperformanceandintegrityoftheStation.RecommendationsmadetotheNASAAdministratorincludeexpandingthesizeofthenodeswhichattachthemodulestogether,therebyprovidinganadditional4,000cubicfeetofpressurizedvolume,and"stuffing"thesenodeswithracksofcommandandcontrolequipmentthat

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