In order to maximize investment in, and benefits of, future deep space exploration platforms and technologies, NASA and its International Space Station partners have collaborated to draft standards that address seven priority areas in which technology compatibility is crucial for global cooperation.
The agency and its partners are seeking feedback on these draft interoperability standards, which cover: avionics, communications, environmental control and life support systems, power systems, rendezvous operations, robotics, and thermal systems. This standardization effort aims to support commonality without dictating design features beyond the interfaces that allow hardware systems to operate with each other.
The goal is to provide a final, baseline version of the standards in the summer 2018 time frame. The first potential application of these standard may be the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, NASA’s lunar outpost that will extend human presence in deep space. However, the standards are meant to be applicable to all deep space environments.
These interoperability standards will build upon the successful global collaboration that went into developing the International Docking System Standard — the standard used for the International Space Station — which provides a path for government and commercial entities alike to develop a docking system compatible with others.
William Gerstenmaier, the Associate Administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said that contributions from the global community will improve the quality of the interoperability standards and help enable development of the systems necessary to meet global exploration goals. Having compatible hardware will allow differing designs to operate with each other. This could allow for crew rescue missions and support from any spacecraft built to these standards.
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