RESEARCH PAPERS: Papers on Aerospace Industry: Space Station Technology

Space Station Technology Readiness

[+] Author and Article Information
R. F. Carlisle, J. M. Romero

NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. 20546

J. Eng. Ind 106(4), 260-275 (Nov 01, 1984) (16 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3185946 History: Received August 03, 1984; Online July 30, 2009


The paper discusses the meaning of “technology readiness” and how this term fits in the context of the following terms: advanced development, design maturity, risk assessment, qualification, certification, and perceived program need. The architecture of the initial module of the space station must include the provision to enable a systematic and cost-effective growth from the initial module to a space station configuration which includes two or more modules joined together in space. The paper assumes a technology readiness is required in FY 1986 to support an operational initial module of the space station in the early 1990’s. The paper defines ten disciplines/subsystems that make up the performance characteristics of a space station. Each is discussed in turn. A snapshot of the technology available in FY 1983 is used as a reference for future technology planning. A forecast of technology readiness is defined for FY 1986. The planned NASA technology and advanced development program, necessary to move the technology from the identified reference in FY 1983 to the forecast performance in FY 1986, is described including ground rules and assumptions used by NASA in the technology planning, in the use of proto-flight hardware in advanced development tests, and in the alternative techniques to be used for qualification ranging from similarity or certification through black box test or subsystem test. The paper concludes with the view that in order for the evolutionary space station to be economical, productive, and long-lived, provision for subsequent improvements and expansion in technological capability and system performance is required on the initial module. The technology options being investigated by NASA will enable the initial space station module to have provisions for reducing power costs through automated management, closing the environmental control and life support systems loops, automated subsystems, modular data network expansion, and improving human productivity. One generic technology area, automation, is pervasive in that it is an enabling technology for many of the disciplines.

Copyright © 1984 by ASME
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