Proceedings PaperCo-Orbiting Platform And Services To Optics Payloads
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The Co-Orbiting Platform is a major element in NASA's new initiative to develop and deploy a permanent space station in the early 1990's. This separate, unmanned free flying space platform supports a variety of space payloads with standard orbital services including: mechanical attachment, pointing control, electrical power, thermal control and data communications. It enhances the overall space station architecture by offering the more controlled space environments and additional mission flexibility supplied by unmanned free flying vehicles. The co-orbiting space platform additionally offers the servicing and transportation economy made possible by the nearby space station. This paper reviews the general features of space platforms drawing on previous space platform and space station studies conducted by NASA. Co-orbital characteristics and operations are reviewed. Plat-form services, particularly those pertinent to optics payloads are discussed; these include viewing access; pointing stability and control; contamination environmental control; electrical power services; thermal control; and data handling, storage and two-way communications.