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A Vital Cislunar Space Application: Satellite Servicing

22 Dec 2011, 05:47 UTC
A Vital Cislunar Space Application: Satellite Servicing
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In my discussion of the Flexible Path to the Moon, I emphasized the importance of cislunar space. My view is that developing infrastructure and capabilities in cislunar space is crucial to sustainable and affordable astronaut exploration to more distant destinations like the lunar surface, NEAs, and Mars, and is also vital to enabling exploration efforts to deliver near-term benefits to the taxpayer. A number of articles have recently appeared that highlight the promise of cislunar space, such as Accelerating the future: human achievements beyond LEO within a decade (The Space Review), Exploration Gateway Platform hosting Reusable Lunar Lander proposed (NASAspaceflight.com), and Phase II of “Asteroid Next” missions: Proving Grounds for future crewed Mars missions (also NASAspaceflight.com). These have generated considerable interest and discussion, and it would be fun to add my voice to those discussions.But I'm not going to do that.Instead, I'd like to focus on a part of the Conference Report for H.R. 2112, the bill that funds NASA for the next fiscal year. The following excerpt is from the report's Space Technology section:Satellite servicing.—The conference agreement provides no less than $25,000,000 for satellite servicing activities. This funding will contribute to the planned competitive satellite servicing demonstration mission and ...

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