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 advised NASA to 'Extend human presence around the sun approach, beginning with a human go back to the Moon via the yr 2020, in training for human exploration of Mars and different destinations,' between different targets. As stated within the VSE, major expertise improvement can be essential to accomplish the ambitions it articulates.NASA's Exploration expertise improvement application (ETDP) is designed to help, improve, and eventually give you the valuable applied sciences to fulfill the ambitions of the VSE. This booklet, a assessment of the ETDP, is generally supportive of the reason and targets of the VSE, and reveals the ETDP is making growth in the direction of the said targets of expertise improvement. despite the fact that, the ETDP is working inside major constraints which restrict its skill to effectively accomplish these pursuits - the nonetheless dynamic nature of the Constellation application requisites, the limitations imposed by way of a constrained finances, the competitive time scale of early expertise deliverables, and the need to completely hire the NASA staff.

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Composite materials may potentially provide significant advantages in weight reduction, but system trade-offs are needed in order to identify and quantify those gains. • Facilities. No new facilities were identified by the committee as needed to validate performance capabilities. • Radiation shielding kit. This technology, which proposes a type of blanket or sleeping bag approach as a portable shield, is a good fundamental research area. However, unless its specific application to various program elements is identified, it is very difficult to see its impact.

The effort is focused on active thermal control technologies. Passive technologies are not viewed to be part of this project’s area of responsibility. Project elements include fluids, heat acquisition, evaporative heat sinks, radiators, system design and testing, and two-phase systems. To date, the technology efforts have focused almost exclusively on Orion. Over the next 3 years, NASA’s schedule shows that the efforts move more toward the Lunar Lander. Although it was noted that the lunar exploration goal is to land anywhere at any time, the specific efforts are wholly aimed at the initial landing, planned for not more than 7 days at one of the poles.

04 PROPULSION AND CRYOGENICS ADVANCED DEVELOPMENT Objective The Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development (PCAD) project is focused on the development of the ascent and descent propulsion systems for the Lunar Lander. The team is working on three main areas: the descent main engine, the ascent main engine, and reaction control system (RCS) thrusters for the ascent propulsion system. According to NASA, the ascent liquid oxygen/methane (LOX/CH4) main engine is currently at TRL 3, the RCS thrusters are at TRL 4, and the descent main engine is at TRL 5.

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