RESEARCH PAPERS: Papers on Aerospace Industry: Space Station Technology

Space Station Technology—Challenge and Opportunity

[+] Author and Article Information
W. B. Olstad

National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, D.C. 20546

J. Eng. Ind 107(1), 3-6 (Feb 01, 1985) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3185963 History: Received November 10, 1982; Online July 30, 2009


As the start-up of development of a permanent U.S. space station draws near, the technologist is faced with the responsibility of delivering to the designer a product that is “ready” so as to assure effective handover at a minimum level of technical risk or residual development cost. At the same time, the technologist is asked to provide as broad a range of options as possible for the designer’s consideration. All this must be done for a set of requirements and constraints that are as yet vague. These uncertainties make the planning process and management decisions difficult. However, NASA’s approach has been to call on the collective wisdom of the aerospace community through establishment of a Space Station Technology Steering Committee (SSTSC). This in-house NASA committee represents all Centers plus the JPL and covers all significant discipline areas and the experimental spectrum from basic research to system development. Currently ten working groups report to the Committee. A number of issues have been pinpointed by the Committee while identifying the desired level of technology for incorporation in a U. S. space station, both initially and as it grows in size, capability, and utility. These issues revolve around the needs to anticipate requirements, consider minimization of life-cycle costs, engender station growth, maximize efficiency of the technology “hand-over” process, permit on-orbit maintenance and repair, facilitate useful operational and scientific activities, and use space station development as a deliberate mechanism to advance technologies in areas selected to bring major benefit to the United States in general, as well as the space station in particular.

Copyright © 1985 by ASME
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