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14 June 2006 On-orbit assembly and servicing of future space observatories
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Abstract
NASA's experience servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, including the installation of optical elements to compensate for a mirror manufacturing error; replacement of failed avionics and worn-out batteries, gyros, thermal insulation and solar arrays; upgrades to the data handling subsystem; installation of far more capable instruments; and retrofitting the NICMOS experiment with a mechanical cryocooler has clearly demonstrated the advantages of on-orbit servicing. This effort has produced a unique astronomical observatory that is orders of magnitude more capable than when it was launched and can be operated for several times its original design life. The in-space operations capabilities that are developed for NASA's Exploration Program will make it possible to assemble and service spacecraft in space and to service them in cis-lunar and L2 orbits. Future space observatories should be designed to utilize these capabilities. This paper discusses the application of the lessons learned from HST and our plans for servicing the Advanced X-ray Astrophysical Observatory with the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle and the Space Station Freedom Customer Servicing Facility to future space observatories, such as SAFIR and LifeFinder that are designed to operate in heliocentric orbits. It addresses the use of human and robotic in-space capabilities that would be required for on-orbit assembly and servicing for future space observatories, and describes some of our design concepts for these activities.
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C. F. Lillie "On-orbit assembly and servicing of future space observatories", Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62652D (14 June 2006); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.672528
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