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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Automated Rendezvous and Docking Infrastructure to Support Commercial Space Development, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Automated Rendezvous and Docking Infrastructure to Support Commercial Space Development, Phase I
NASA's safety mandate for crewed and high value spacecraft currently necessitates design requirements that create a cost barrier for commercial companies trying to provide on-orbit logistics services for NASA. The proposed innovation offers a means to facilitate commercial involvement in on-orbit servicing by developing a spacecraft that removes this burden from commercial vehicles. The spacecraft will: ? Perform automated rendezvous and capture to ferry commercial spacecraft to target spacecraft ? Provide a safe interface between simple, low cost, commercial spacecraft and high value targets (ISS, CEV, Lunar Lander, propellant depot, or high value satellites) This will serve as key infrastructure element to enable emerging commercial space companies and other developers of low cost systems to play significant roles in NASA's Exploration program and/or ISS re-supply activities. This infrastructure will: ? Prevent restrictive and extremely expensive fault tolerance, safety, and Human Rating requirements from being levied on the commercial vehicles, ? Remove the need for commercial vehicles to design, develop, and test independent automated rendezvous and docking (AR&D) systems, ? Reduce the amount of expensive AR&D and safety related hardware launched and discarded on each flight, and ? Reduce the cost of integrating each spacecraft through standardized interfaces. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.