Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Aerospace Engineering

Major Professor

James Evans Lyne

Committee Members

Masood Parang, Robert E. Bond

Abstract

The space vehicle system concept (i.e. resupply vehicle) described is based on the new direction that President George W. Bush announced on January 14, 2004 for NASA’s Human Exploration, which has the space shuttle retiring in 2011 following the completion of the International Space Station (ISS). This leads to a problem for the ISS community regarding the capability of meeting a sixty metric-ton cargo shortfall in resupply and the ability of returning large payloads, experiment racks and any other items too large to fit into a crew only type spacecraft like the Orion or Soyuz. NASA and the ISS partners have realized these future problems and started developing various systems for resupply to ISS, but none offer the capability for large up or down mass close to that of the shuttle. Without this capability, the primary purpose behind the ISS science mission is defeated and the ability to keep the station functioning properly is at risk with limited payload delivery (i.e. replacement hardware size and mass). There is a solution to this problem and a majority of the solution has already been designed, built, and flight tested. Another portion has been studied heavily by a team at NASA for use in a slightly different mission. Following the retirement of the space shuttle fleet and the loss of heavy up and down mass capability, the only solution to the problem is to design a new spacecraft. However, the budget and new direction for NASA will not allow for a costly new payload carrying spacecraft. The solution is to use existing commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware to minimize the costs of developing a totally new system. This paper will discuss the technical feasibility of this conceptual configuration.

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