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Space Bartering

14 Jan 2012, 14:05 UTC
Space Bartering
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Aviation Week and Space Technology reports that ESA and NASA are considering using ATV technology for the Orion spacecraft's service module in a barter agreement involving ISS services. One could imagine such a barter agreement being extended in the future, as perhaps ESA astronauts get rides on Orion launched by SLS in exchange for additional service modules. Theoretically, such an arrangement could lower the astounding cost of Orion to the U.S. or shorten the development schedule (as the SM is currently given lower priority than the capsule). However, given that Orion is many years into its development, design changes caused by a new SM could affect the whole spacecraft, and that the international barter arrangement would introduce a whole new level of managerial complexity, it's not immediately clear that significant savings would really be forthcoming, especially during the rather long development phase. That is exactly what NASA and ESA are trying to find out.Could a different NASA-ESA barter arrangement be made that includes the following characteristics? includes ESA in NASA's exploration plansdoesn't upset an applecart that has been designed for many yearsadds value to NASA's plansinvolves distinct elements to reduce managerial and political complexityuses ESA's strengthsdoes not damage U.S. interests, ...

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