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The Not-So-Great Compromise: Exploration Technology Demonstrations and Development

25 Aug 2010, 11:12 UTC
The Not-So-Great Compromise: Exploration Technology Demonstrations and Development
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Like the Robotic Precursor missions, NASA's proposed Exploration Technology and Demonstrations program includes 2 main categories of work. In this case, the 2 categories are Flagship Technology Demonstrations and Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration.The Flagship Technology Demonstrations are major demonstrations of exploration technologies. These missions are expected to cost from $400M to $1B each. The Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration efforts are smaller (typically under $100M), and could include lab work, field tests, and even demonstrations in space.NASA's initial FY2011 Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration (ETDD) Point of Departure Plans (PDF) included the following:Lunar Volatiles Characterization - Demonstrate ISRU technology in a thermal vacuum chamber followed by testing on the Moon as part of a robotic precursor mission.High Power Electric Propulsion - Demonstrate a prototype > 100 kW solar electric propulsion system in a thermal vacuum chamber with the intent to eventually demonstrating the technology in space under the Flagship Technology Demonstrations program.Autonomous Precision Landing - demonstrate an autonomous landing and hazard avoidance system on Earth, perhaps using a VTVL landing vehicle as a carrying platform. This would eventually lead to a test on a body like the Moon.Human Exploration Telerobotics - Demonstrate telerobotics to and from the ISS to ...

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