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Proceedings Paper

Science and Applications Space Platforms
Author(s): Max E. Nein; James O. Ballance
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Paper Abstract

The advent of the "Space Shuttle Era" has spearheaded a new wave of thought in our approach to the exploitation of space. Through use of the Shuttle, science and applications payloads need no longer be abandoned at the scheduled end of a particular mission, or when struck with premature failure, or even when they simply become outdated through advancements in technology. Rather the option will now exist for on-orbit maintenance and/or recovery of the payload for potential reuse. The Shuttle itself can even serve as an operational base for the gathering of data. This will be accomplished primarily through the use of Spacelab and a multitude of "Spacelab Instruments," many of which are already being developed. Additionally, the Shuttle along with other members of the Space Transportation Systems. family, will allow the buildup of space structures which can be routinely maintained on-orbit, thereby allowing long-term technical and economic exploitation. One such structure being given increased consideration for use in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is the "Space Platform." Such platforms are envisioned to have lifetimes of many years and to provide basic stability, various utilities, and on-orbit accessibility to a number of temporarily emplaced payloads. Some payloads, depending on the mission for which they are being flown, would operate from a few weeks or months to many years. This paper reports current planning efforts by NASA for these space platforms directed towards determining the technically most suitable concepts and the approaches which might be followed to evolve these platforms as a cost-effective extension of the Spacelab era.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 April 1981
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 0265, Shuttle Pointing of Electro-Optical Experiments, (3 April 1981); doi: 10.1117/12.959889
Show Author Affiliations
Max E. Nein, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center (United States)
James O. Ballance, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0265:
Shuttle Pointing of Electro-Optical Experiments
William Jerkovsky, Editor(s)

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