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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station Committee on Use of the International Space Station for Engineering Research and Technology Development Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1996
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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 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 report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. 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. Harold Liebowitz 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. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Available in limited supply from: The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 (202) 334-2855 Copyright 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Cover Illustration: Partially assembled International Space Station with a supplemental solar dynamic power system. Source: NASA.
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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station COMMITTEE ON USE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION FOR ENGINEERING RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT DAVID BODDE (chair), Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, Missouri JOHN COX, American Practices Management, Warrenton, Virginia DEBORAH JACKSON, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California THOMAS KELLY, Consultant, Cutchogue, New York BYRON LICHTENBERG, Omega Aerospace, Virginia Beach, Virginia JERROLD LUNDQUIST, McKinsey & Company, Inc., Stamford, Connecticut NICK MONTANARELLI, Technology Transfer Consultant, Alexandria, Virginia STEPHEN ROCK, Stanford University, Stanford, California H. EDWARD SENASACK, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Staff Paul Shawcross, Study Director JoAnn Clayton, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Director Beth Henry, Program Assistant
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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD JOHN D. WARNER (chair), The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington STEVEN AFTERGOOD, Federation of American Scientists, Washington, D.C. JOSEPH P. ALLEN, Space Industries International, Inc., Washington, D.C. GEORGE A. BEKEY, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California GUION S. BLUFORD, JR., NYMA, Inc., Brook Park, Ohio RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed-Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colorado BARBARA C. CORN, B C Consulting, Inc., Searcy, Arizona STEVEN D. DORFMAN, Hughes Electronics Corporation, Los Angeles, California DONALD C. FRASER, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts DANIEL HASTINGS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts WILLIAM H. HEISER, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado BERNARD L. KOFF, Pratt & Whitney, West Palm Beach, Florida DONALD J. KUTYNA, Loral Corporation, Colorado Springs, Colorado JOHN M. LOGSDON, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. FRANK E. MARBLE, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California C. JULIAN MAY, Technical Operations International, Inc., Kennesaw, Georgia BRADFORD W. PARKINSON, Stanford University, Stanford, California GRACE M. ROBERTSON, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, California Staff JoAnn C. Clayton, Director
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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station Preface This report discusses engineering research and technology development (ERTD) that could be performed on the International Space Station (ISS) to: enhance the performance, reduce operations costs, and extend the life of the ISS improve the capabilities and reduce the costs of other National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other government space missions improve the competitiveness of U.S. companies enrich engineering education in the United States In particular, the report addresses the issues posed by NASA in its charge to the committee, which is contained in appendix C. The committee recognizes that the decision to place a crewed international laboratory in orbit was made for purposes that reach well beyond engineering and technology. This report therefore makes no attempt to justify the space station on the basis of potential contributions to ERTD. Rather, we assume that the ISS will be built and operated approximately as planned, and we concentrate on the kinds of ERTD that could best use the unique capabilities of the ISS and the measures that should be taken to make the station an effective laboratory for engineering research and the development of technology. We also recognize that this orbiting laboratory will be a precious and costly resource. A due regard for economy suggests that ERTD conducted on the ISS will consist only of experiments that cannot be conducted more effectively on Earth. Many experiments intended to improve space technologies, for example,
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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station can be conducted in standard terrestrial laboratories or in special facilities, such as drop towers or thermal vacuum chambers. This report does not prescribe which experiments should be conducted on the ISS and which should be performed on Earth or on other spacecraft —such decisions are properly the responsibility of NASA management and the private companies involved in space ERTD. Nor does the committee assign priorities to various ERTD technical fields. Instead, we provide our best judgment about the types of experiments most appropriate for the ISS, and we suggest an approach NASA and industry could use to make such decisions in a more economically rational manner. The committee is aware that NASA is considering many proposals and plans that, if implemented, would affect ERTD on the ISS. Rather than review the possible effects of all of them, we believed it would be more useful for us to draw up a clean sheet of recommendations. These recommendations are confined to the relatively narrow field of ERTD, but they may also have broader implications for other fields of space endeavor. For example, recommendations for improving the efficiency of the payload integration process apply as much to scientific as to engineering research. And more effective programs for the commercialization of space station technologies could also improve the commercialization of technologies from other NASA programs. Chapter 1 defines ERTD and identifies the principal issues explored in the report. In chapter 2, the kinds of ERTD that could most appropriately be performed on the ISS are discussed, and a method for setting priorities is proposed. A detailed assessment of the individual fields of research examined by the committee is contained in chapter 3. Chapter 4 reviews the interface between the space station program and university and industrial experimenters and offers recommendations for facilitating ERTD by these external stakeholders. Chapter 4 also investigates ISS instrumentation, generic facilities, and other hardware needed to support ERTD research. The committee reviewed techniques for assessing the benefits of research to U.S. competitiveness but found, as is discussed in appendix B, that none could satisfactorily predict benefits from ISS ERTD. In an effort to provide NASA with more than a negative finding, however, the committee, in chapter 5, suggests steps that NASA could take to improve the likelihood that ERTD on the ISS will benefit the economy. The committee came to realize, as many have before us, the importance of advanced technology in reducing costs and increasing the capabilities of space endeavors. Indeed, until costs can be reduced and capabilities enhanced, the nation will be unable to realize the full economic, cultural, and scientific benefits from its investment in space. The ISS—which will be the nation's largest single investment in space hardware—could be an important asset in conducting the research and developing the technology needed to achieve these goals. This report was written to assist NASA in its efforts to use the ISS effectively for ERTD in space and to ensure that the results of that ERTD benefit the nation.
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Engineering Research and Technology Development on the Space Station We are pleased to join with colleagues in universities, industry, and government in this task. The committee especially wishes to thank the many NASA officials who gave generously of their time to provide background briefings. Participants in our workshop (listed in appendix A) and members of the National Research Council committees on advanced space technology and on the space station all provided valuable input to the study. This report would not have been possible without their assistance and encouragement. Finally, the Committee notes the substantive contributions and management skills of the National Research Council staff, especially Paul Shawcross, the study director for this project. DAVID L. BODDE Committee Chair
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