- Aeronautics and Astronautics.
- Gralla, Erica Lynn
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of
Aeronautics and Astronautics. Olivier L. de Weck.
- 132 p.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See
provided URL for inquiries about permission.
- NASA's human lunar and Mars exploration program
requires a new transportation system between Earth and the Moon or
Mars. In recent years, unfortunately, human space exploration
programs have faced myriad political, technical, and financial
difficulties. In order to avoid such problems, future human space
exploration programs should be designed from the start for
affordability. This thesis addresses one aspect of affordable
exploration programs by tackling the issue of high costs for access
to space. While launch vehicle trades for exploration programs are
relatively well understood, on-orbit assembly has been given much
less attention, but is an equally important component of the
infrastructure enabling human access to space. Two separate but
related perspectives on in-space assembly of modular spacecraft are
provided: first, the coupling between launch vehicle selection,
vehicle design, and on-orbit assembly is explored to provide a
quantitative understanding of this combined tradespace; and second,
a number of on-orbit assembly methods are analyzed in order to
understand the potential value of a reusable assembly support
- (cont.) Within the first topic, a quantitative
enumeration of the launcher-assembly tradespace (in terms of both
cost and risk) is provided based on a generalizable process for
generating spacecraft modules and launch manifests from a
transportation architecture. An optimal module size and launcher
capability is found for a sample architecture at 82 metric tons; a
28-mt EELV emerges as another good option. The results show that
the spacecraft design, assembly planning, and launcher selection
are highly coupled and should be considered together, rather than
separately. Within the second topic, four separate assembly
strategies involving module self-assembly, tug-based assembly, and
in-space refueling are modeled and compared in terms of
mass-to-orbit requirements for various on-orbit assembly tasks.
Results show that the assembly strategy has a significant impact on
overall launch mass, and reusable space tugs with in-space
refueling can significantly reduce the required launch mass for
on-orbit assembly. This thesis thus examines a broad but focused
set of issues associated with on-orbit assembly of next-generation
- by Erica Lynn Gralla.
- Thesis (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
- Includes bibliographical references (p.
- M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be
viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or
distribution in any format is prohibited without written
permission. See provided URL for inquiries about
- Instructions in case access is denied
Site powered by: