present, and future) to elements of the commercial space industry that are not under contract to NASA. For example, historical data on the performance of thermal protection systems during atmospheric entry and the effects of zero gravity on human health would be of particular interest to companies seeking to establish launch capabilities to transport crew and cargo to low Earth orbit (LEO), in-space servicing, and related space commerce. NASA is supporting ongoing technology development related to autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations, docking and dexterous mechanisms, and life sciences. These technologies currently appear in the draft roadmaps. (See, for example, technology subareas 4.6, Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking, and 6.3, Human Health and Performance.) Highlighting technologies such as these as being of interest to the commercial space sector could facilitate the technology transfer process. In addition, grouping technologies of particular interest to the commercial space sector in a level 2 “Commercial Space Technologies” subarea could be done to enhance the visibility of NASA’s efforts to meet the needs of commercial space. The steering committee gave some consideration to establishing a separate roadmap dealing with commercial space technologies to highlight this area, but decided against it in preference to suggesting a level 2 subarea to show the relevance of a broad range of technologies across many of the roadmaps and to make them easier to identify.


Like many other spacecraft systems, avionics are essential to mission success, and they consume scarce resources in terms of launch volume, payload mass, and power. Advanced technology could improve the reliability and performance of avionics in harsh space environments and reduce their volume, mass, and power requirements. However, the draft roadmaps have very few level 3 technologies that would contribute to advances in avionics technology.

Some advances in avionics technology will progress even without NASA investment. These likely include commercial development of new data bus technologies, which are broadly applicable, and fundamentally new means of data processing to support a wide range of processor applications. However, it is appropriate for NASA to support the development of avionics technologies that are uniquely driven by NASA mission requirements. These technologies would contribute to the following capabilities:

•   High computation rates and high data throughput for avionics components that are intrinsically radiation hard.

•   Fault-tolerant processing. Processor faults can lead to mission failure. Technology advancements in fault tolerant processing would improve future vehicle safety and mission reliability.

•   Fully coordinated, reliable, and successful operation of complex, highly integrated avionics systems. The complexity of avionics systems for some future space vehicles will press the state of the art.


Space weather refers to the dynamic state of the space environment. It includes space radiation as well as other phenomena, such as solar electromagnetic flux, magnetic fields, charged and neutral components of the solar wind, and energetic particles superimposed on the solar wind from solar and galactic sources. The space environment extends from the Sun throughout the solar system, and it includes the magnetospheres and ionospheres of planets and moons. The space environment changes over time scales ranging from seconds to millennia, but the most common time scales of interest to NASA mission operations range from minutes to hours or days. For mission planning and design the relevant time scales range from days to years or decades.

Space weather affects NASA operations far beyond the effects of penetrating radiation on human health, as addressed in TA06, Human Health, Life Support, and Habitation Systems (see technology 6.5.4, which has been retitled Radiation Prediction). The technology roadmaps as a whole do not

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