A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review by Committee to Review NASA 's Exploration Technology

By Committee to Review NASA 's Exploration Technology Development Program, National Research Council

In January 2004, President George W. Bush introduced the imaginative and prescient for house Exploration (VSE), which suggested NASA to 'Extend human presence around the sunlight approach, beginning with a human go back to the Moon by means of the 12 months 2020, in training for human exploration of Mars and different destinations,' between different ambitions. As stated within the VSE, major know-how improvement can be essential to accomplish the objectives it articulates.NASA's Exploration know-how improvement application (ETDP) is designed to help, advance, and finally give you the priceless applied sciences to fulfill the objectives of the VSE. This booklet, a evaluation of the ETDP, is largely supportive of the purpose and pursuits of the VSE, and unearths the ETDP is making development in the direction of the acknowledged pursuits of know-how improvement. notwithstanding, the ETDP is working inside major constraints which restrict its skill to effectively accomplish these ambitions - the nonetheless dynamic nature of the Constellation application necessities, the limitations imposed via a restricted price range, the competitive time scale of early expertise deliverables, and the will to totally hire the NASA staff.

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The metals industry has been crafting friction stir weld and spun domes for a long time. 5-meter diameter. 2 m) to what NASA is trying to achieve. The benefit to the Constellation configuration from incorporating this technology with a small delta in dimension from the state of the art is not clear. • Low-temperature mechanisms. This project element has selected a few components and tested them under the cold temperature extremes present on the Moon. However, when asked about its specific application, the project team was unsure.

The team has also tried to foresee what requirement changes the LLPO might present to it and has tried to develop flexible designs. For example, its LOX/CH4 engine project is expected to be flexible with respect to thrust changes and the number of the starts required. The PCAD technology development team is pursuing “green” propellants such as LOX, LH 2, and CH4, as opposed to hypergolic fuels, for both the descent and the ascent engines. One can only assume that such “green” propellants will continue to be the preferred choice for other exploration-class missions.

This concern is derived from the lack of concrete requirements, the apparent lack of any reasonable priority (by virtue of extremely low funding levels of some of the subtasks), and the apparent lack of upper management’s incorporation of electronics issues into mission architectures and planning. An example of the lack of concern is that currently funded R&D teams in this area, as presented to the committee, are not deeply informed about the radiation or volatile environment on the lunar surface—an absolutely necessary prerequisite to the proper modeling of radiation effects on electronics.

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