NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated

It's possible to convert launch vehicle upper stages into space station modules, says a five-month NASA study.


( illustration Ixion module, upper stage left in orbit refitted as space station module, attached to ISS )

Jeffrey Manber, chief executive of NanoRacks, discussed the results of the study, part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2 (NextSTEP-2) effort, in panel discussions Dec. 6 at the SpaceCom Expo here.

The concept, called Ixion, involves taking an Atlas 5 upper stage left in low Earth orbit after a launch and refitting it with life support and other systems needed to support a crew. That converted module could then be attached to the ISS or be used as part of a standalone commercial space station.

The idea of converting an upper stage into a space station module is not a new one. Manber noted that, half a century ago, NASA studied the so-called “wet workshop” approach as one approach for what would become the Skylab space station, but concluded it was too difficult.

Technological improvements have changed that assessment. “We’re now increasingly confident that we can show NASA that this second stage can be repurposed both using crew or even, amazing to me, doing it robotically,” Manber said.

That's not the only possible configuration, at least according to science fiction writers. I seem to recall the Tether Space Station from David Brin's 1983 story Tank Farm Dynamo:

The tank was the next to last in a row of forty of the great cylinders, nestled side by side. A parallel deck of sixteen huge tanks lay about sixty kilometers "overhead" linked to this collection by six strong cables. Twenty meters away from where I stood, one of the half-inch polymer tethers rose from its anchor point, a mirror-bright streak toward the planet overhead.

Via SpaceNews; thanks to @nyrath for tipping us off on Twitter.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/4/2017)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.' - Ray Cummings, 1930.

Starshade Will Help Space Telescope To Search For Exoplanets
'When it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope ...' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.' - George Lucas, 1977.

Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.' - EC Tubb, 1958.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Miners! NASA Wants To License RASSOR Excavator
'The borers had been dismantled and packed away.'

Bee+ Robobee Now With Four Wings
'It was a tiny thing, scarcely more than an inch and a half in length...'

CNSILK Robotic Spider Builder
'We could certainly spin a web right through the Solar System, if we can think of a good use for one.'

Starshade Will Help Space Telescope To Search For Exoplanets
'When it found planetary systems in its field, automatically shifted upon them a higher powered telespectroscope ...'

Tiny LEDs Developed For Dust-Sized Computers
'They use sparkles to talk to each other...'

Is There Extraterrestrial Life Here In The Solar System
'How fast is it moving? ...one meter per minute.'

Can We Comprehend Deep Learning Systems?
'You’ve nothing remotely like it, so I can’t describe it to you.'

Skin Electronics Can Show Electrocardiogram
'... the young men in the streets who applied polyimde OLED body film to their bared shoulders.'

Chinese Fern Helps Remediate Arsenic Soil
'Bioengeering had put out a spec report on the long crawly things five months back.'

Skai Air Taxi Costs The Same As Uber
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'

Neurodevices For Consumers? Neuroethicists (And Philip K Dick) Say 'Caveat Emptor'
'They tried to use it today and it wouldn't work. No colors and no ceph patterns, neither one...'

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Won By AI SpaceFactory
3D printing - on Mars!

The Future Of Elon Musk's Neuralink
'Cerebral Electromagnetic Emmission Amplification and Relay System — call it artificial telepathy, if you like.'

Researchers Make You Say Anything in Videos
'[It] caused his televised image... to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.'

Jeff Bezos Tries Waldoes (Robotic Hands)
'Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him...'

Asimov and Musk - Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.