On-Orbit Robotics Assembly and Operations of a Nuclear Mars Transfer System

by W. J. G. Brimley, Spar Aerospace Ltd, Brampton, Canada,
H. Kleinberg, Spar Aerospace Ltd, Brampton, Canada,
H. H. Woo, Spar Aerospace Ltd, Brampton, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


This paper presents an operations concept and associated scenarios for assembly in Earth orbit of a manned Mars vehicle. The assembly of a Rockwell-Spar reference spacecraft configuration is studied, utilizing robotics technology from the Mobile Servicing System (MSS). The MSS is presently being developed as the Canadian contribution to the Space Station Freedom. The MSS technology and the Mars Transfer System are described. High-level operations trade-offs are discussed, and groundrules, assumptions and requirements are established, to demonstrate the efficiency of utilizing robotics for on-orbit assembly of the Mars Transfer System (MTS). Examples of assembly operations are presented. Robotics applications during the various phases of the Manned Mars Missions are discussed. Examples are maintenance, inspection, payload deployment and retrieval, berthing, and EVA support. Areas in which technology development is required are also considered. Conclusions are made that confirm the applicability of the technology development and operations experience from the Space Station Freedom program, to enable the robotics technologies that are necessary to ensure Mission success for the Mars Transfer System.

Subject Headings: Automation and robotics | Space exploration | Space stations | Mars | Orbits | Aircraft and spacecraft | Payloads

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