A Concept Study Into A Post-ISS Architecture

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M. Hempsell (2016), JBIS, 69, pp.163-174

Refcode: 2016.69.163
Keywords: ISS, PIA, USIS, space infrastructure, space stations

The study examined a potential architecture to sustain a human presence in low earth orbit after the decommissioning of the International Space Station (ISS). The objective was to provide an initial capability that would be equivalent to the ISS, with lower cost and increased flexibility for expansion in size and location. The architecture selected was multiple small PIA (Post ISS Architecture) stations, each around 50 tonnes in mass and a crew of three or four. Four PIA stations roughly match the ISS capability in terms of rack space, available power and other key parameters. Infrastructure expansion beyond this can either be achieved by building more stations or by adding specialist modules to the free berthing port on the stations already in service. The PIA station would be developed by an international partnership, then each partner would take ownership of one or more of the stations in the overall architecture. A concept design for the PIA station is described to demonstrate the viability of approach. The design highlights the extensive use of the ISS legacy to minimise the impact of transition between the two regimes. The study was also used as a validation exercise for the Universal Space Interface Standard (USIS) requirements. A cost analysis was conducted looking at various partner scenarios. It showed negligible exchange of funds between partners is possible, with each partner getting the advantages of international cooperation in shared development, while also enjoying the benefits of an independent operational capability.

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