Influential astrophysicists, roboticists and astronauts say that orbital construction could spark a renaissance in space science and exploration

GREENBELT, Md., – In some respects, building and repairing spacecraft in space is a revolution that has already arrived, merely kept under the radar by a near-flawless track record that makes it seem deceptively routine. Two of NASA’s pinnacle projects—the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Space Telescope—owe their existence to orbital construction work. Assembled and resupplied in orbit over two decades, the ISS is now roughly as big as a football field and has more living space than a standard six-bedroom house. And only space-based repairs allowed Hubble to become the world’s most iconic and successful telescope, after a space shuttle crew on a first-of-its-kind servicing mission in 1993 fixed a crippling defect in the observatory’s primary mirror. Astronauts have since conducted four more Hubble servicing missions, replacing equipment and upgrading instruments to leave behind an observatory reborn, writes Lee Billings for Scientific American.

Dec 12th, 2018
Influential astrophysicists, roboticists and astronauts say that orbital construction could spark a renaissance in space science and exploration
Influential astrophysicists, roboticists and astronauts say that orbital construction could spark a renaissance in space science and exploration
GREENBELT, Md., – In some respects, building and repairing spacecraft in space is a revolution that has already arrived, merely kept under the radar by a near-flawless track record that makes it seem deceptively routine. Two of NASA’s pinnacle projects—the International Space Station (ISS) and the Hubble Space Telescope—owe their existence to orbital construction work. Assembled and resupplied in orbit over two decades, the ISS is now roughly as big as a football field and has more living space than a standard six-bedroom house. And only space-based repairs allowed Hubble to become the world’s most iconic and successful telescope, after a space shuttle crew on a first-of-its-kind servicing mission in 1993 fixed a crippling defect in the observatory’s primary mirror. Astronauts have since conducted four more Hubble servicing missions, replacing equipment and upgrading instruments to leave behind an observatory reborn, writes Lee Billings for Scientific American.

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The Intelligent Aerospace take:

December 12, 2018- Lee Billings' piece for Scientific American is worthwhile reading for anyone with an interest in satellites and space sciences. While the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope have shown the ability to build and maintain large objects in space, the prospect of building a space telescope the size of an Earth-bound one is both intriguing and daunting, but the result could drive both discovery and innovation.

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Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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