The demonstrated capabilities of the Space Shuttle and rapid advancements in both ground- and space-based technology offer new opportunities for developing space systems for practical use, including a manned space station and one or more unmanned space platforms. The Space Applications Board conducted a study to determine the technical requirements that should be considered in the conceptual design of a space station and/or space platforms so that, if developed, these spacecraft would have utility for practical applications.
Practical Applications of a Space Station is a formal report of the study, in which six panels met, one in each of the following areas: earth's resources, earth's environment, ocean operations, satellite communications, materials science and engineering, and system design factors. Each panel was asked to consider what practical applications of space systems may be expected in their particular areas beginning around 1990. The panels were also asked to identify technological progress that would need to be made and that should be emphasized in order for space systems with practical uses to have greater utility by the time a space station might be available.
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