Space Technology
For The New Century

Committee on Advanced Space Technology

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS

Washington, D.C. 1998



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Space Technology For The New Century Committee on Advanced Space Technology Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1998

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Page ii NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS · 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. · Washington, D.C. 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. NASW-4938 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-05987-9 Available in limited supply from: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, HA 292, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418. (202) 334-2855 Additional copies available for sale from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Box 285, Washington, DC 20055. 1-800-624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan area). http://www.nap.edu Copyright © 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Cover Illustration: Artist's conception of a robotic probe ascending from Mars using propellant manufactured from the Martian atmosphere. Source: NASA. Printed in the United States of America.

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Page iii The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Page iv COMMITTEE ON ADVANCED SPACE TECHNOLOGY DANIEL HASTINGS (chair), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge* BERNARD BUDIANSKY, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts RAYMOND COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado (committee chair until March 1997) ROBERT COOPER, Atlantic Aerospace Electronics Corporation, Greenbelt, Maryland ROBERT FISCHELL, MedInTec, Inc., Dayton, Maryland EMANUEL FTHENAKIS, Fairchild Industries (retired), Potomac, Maryland JEROLD GILMORE, System Engineering Solutions, Inc., Wellesley, Massachusetts CLARK HAWK, University of Alabama, Huntsville SYLVESTER HILL, Boeing Defense and Space Group, Seattle, Washington DAVID LANDGREBE, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana CLAIRE LEON, Hughes Space and Communications, Los Angeles, California FRANKLIN D. MARTIN, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Sunnyvale, California ROBERT SACKHEIM, TRW, Redondo Beach, California WILLIAM WHITTAKER, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Staff PAUL SHAWCROSS, Study Director GEORGE M. LEVIN, Director (from July 14, 1997) JOANN C. CLAYTON-TOWNSEND, Director (until July 11, 1997) MARY MESZAROS, Senior Project Assistant

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Page v AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD JOHN D. WARNER (chair), The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington A. DWIGHT ABBOTT, Aerospace Corporation, Los Angeles, California STEVEN AFTERGOOD, Federation of American Scientists, Washington, D.C. GEORGE A. BEKEY, University of Southern California, Los Angeles GUION S. BLUFORD, JR., NYMA, Inc., Brook Park, Ohio RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado BARBARA C. CORN, BC Consulting, Inc., Searcy, Arizona STEVEN D. DORFMAN, Hughes Telecommunications and Space Company, Los Angeles, California DONALD C. FRASER, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts JAMES M. GUYETTE, Rolls-Royce North American, Reston, Virginia FREDERICK HAUCK, AXA Space, Bethesda, Maryland WILLIAM H. HEISER, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado WILLIAM HOOVER, U.S. Air Force (retired), Williamsburg, Virginia BENJAMIN HUBERMAN, Huberman Consulting Group, Washington, D.C. JAMES G. O'CONNOR, Pratt & Whitney (retired), Coventry, Connecticut GRACE M. ROBERTSON, The Boeing Company, Long Beach, California GEORGE SPRINGER, Stanford University, Stanford, California Staff GEORGE M. LEVIN, Director

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Page vii Preface In the early twenty-first century, the U.S. government and commercial space industry plan to launch a wide variety of spacecraft for astronomy, remote sensing, communications, crewed and robotic exploration, and other activities. Advanced space technologies will be required for spacecraft to be less expensive and more capable than current ones. Some of the technologies will be developed by the U.S. Department of Defense or by commercial industry, but others—particularly those required for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) unique science and exploration missions—will not be developed by any other agency or company and will have to be developed by NASA. In the spring of 1996, NASA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to examine the nation's civil space technology needs for the post-2000 time frame and identify the technologies that NASA should develop to meet those needs. The NRC was asked to gather information about future technology requirements, consider innovative technologies that may enable new capabilities, determine which technologies would benefit from long lead-time research and technology development (R&T), and suggest ways for NASA to work more effectively with industry, universities, and other government agencies to conduct this R&T. (The complete charge to the committee is reprinted in Appendix A.) The committee was not asked to consider technologies for human support in space because those were the focus of another NRC report, Advanced Technology for Human Support in Space (1997). The NRC asked its Committee on Advanced Space Technology to conduct this study. The committee did not work alone, however, and would like to thank the many organizations (listed in Appendix B) that provided us with white papers or met with us to discuss future space activities and technologies. We would also

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Page viii like to thank Carl Allen, Roger Angel, Gary Bennett, Vincent Chan, Ben Clark, Mike Duke, Eliezer Gai, Henry Helvajian, Deborah Jackson, Stephen Lukachko, Ernest Robinson, Joe Sovie, K.R. Sridhar, Jim Trainor, Michael Wehner, and the staff of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for their help. This report has been reviewed for the NRC by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The content of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank Aaron Cohen, Texas A&M University; France Cordova, University of California, Santa Barbara; Harold Forsen, National Academy of Engineering; Robert Frosch, Harvard University; Jack Kerrebrock, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Henry Pugh, The Boeing Company; James Wertz, Microcosm, Inc.; and Peter Wilhelm, Naval Research Laboratory, for their participation in the review of this report. All of these individuals provided many constructive comments and suggestions, but the responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring committee and the NRC. Unlike other reports in the past decade that have looked at NASA's technology development program, this report is based on the assumption that NASA budgets will continue to be constrained and that limited funding will be available for technology development. Although research into advanced technology inherently carries a significant risk of failure, the research areas proposed in this report have a high potential to yield significant results with relatively small amounts of funding. It is important to note that the technologies discussed in this report are not the only technologies NASA should develop. Some technologies that are not highlighted in this report may turn out to be even more critical for future space activities. The committee believes that the best approach for NASA is to invest in a portfolio of technologies that will be valuable in a wide range of future scenarios. By highlighting these technologies and suggesting ways NASA can best develop them, we hope we have performed a useful service for NASA and the nation. DANIEL HASTINGS, chair

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Page ix Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 5 References 6 2 STUDY APPROACH 7 Identifying Key Technologies 7 Improving NASA's Technology Development Processes 10 References 11 3 KEY TECHNOLOGIES 12 Wideband, High Data-Rate Communications over Planetary Distances 13 Precisely Controlled Space Structures 15 Microelectromechanical Systems for Space 16 Space Nuclear Power Systems 18 Low-Cost, Radiation-Resistant Memories and Electronics 20 Extraction and Utilization of Extraterrestrial Resources 21 Recommendations 23 References 23 4 COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT OF SPACE TECHNOLOGIES 24 NASA's Current Approach 24 Cooperative Programs 27 Recommendations 31 References 32 APPENDICES  

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Page x A Statement of Task 35 B Organizations that Submitted White Papers to the Committee 36 C Representative Future Space Activities 37 D Technologies Assessed by the Committee 40