FIGURE 4.7 An illustration of the concept of operations for a servicing node at the Earth-Moon L1 point. The facility to be serviced, in this case an astronomical observatory, travels by means of low-energy (i.e., velocity) transfer to the Earth-Moon L1 (or L2) location, where it is met by the Orion and servicing node module, which features an airlock. This system can remain onsite for 2 to 3 weeks and perhaps could carry out other tasks. On completion of the servicing mission, the Orion crew module returns to Earth and the servicing node may remain at one of the libration points for further duties. NOTE: SM, service module; ∆V, delta-v; TEI, trans Earth injection. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

FIGURE 4.7 An illustration of the concept of operations for a servicing node at the Earth-Moon L1 point. The facility to be serviced, in this case an astronomical observatory, travels by means of low-energy (i.e., velocity) transfer to the Earth-Moon L1 (or L2) location, where it is met by the Orion and servicing node module, which features an airlock. This system can remain onsite for 2 to 3 weeks and perhaps could carry out other tasks. On completion of the servicing mission, the Orion crew module returns to Earth and the servicing node may remain at one of the libration points for further duties. NOTE: SM, service module; ∆V, delta-v; TEI, trans Earth injection. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

Human servicing missions have already enabled fantastic advances in space science through the Solar Maximum Mission and the Hubble Space Telescope. In the future, these advances can only improve as technology and science continue to progress at increasing rates. Future servicing missions may continue to be human servicing missions, or a combination of human and robotic capabilities, but as robotic technology advances, robotic autonomous missions to scientific spacecraft will be possible. ESA is already using autonomous robotics to service the ISS, and Orbital Express has proven that some of the technology already works. As robotic technology continues to improve, new servicing capabilities will become possible, creating opportunities for even greater science that better keeps up with evolving space technologies.



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