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OCT Science and Technology Partnerships:
In-Space Assembly


Project Summary

Status: Active

The Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) Science and Technology (S&T) Partnership is a unique cooperation between governmental agencies with the goal of finding common areas for collaboration. The task that NASA Langley supports is focused on in-space assembly.

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 Office of the Chief Technologist Science and Technology Partnership

The S&T Partnership has three main purposes:

  • Facilitate cross-agency collaboration for technical solutions to common needs
  • Maintain awareness of each agency’s space S&T investments to reduce duplication and identify areas worthy of collaboration
  • Identify collaboration challenges and formulate solutions

The goal of the in-space assembly partnership is to develop the capability to perform autonomous or semi-autonomous in-space assembly of space systems. Launch vehicle and fairing size limit the size of space systems that are pre-assembled prior to launch. Future space needs across the government will require very large structures, optical apertures, and antennas.

The benefits of this activity will be felt across the government and commercial space sector by enabling space systems larger, more capable, and more cost-effective than those that must be delivered to space in a single launch. NASA Langley – specifically SMAB – has played a major role in this endeavor.

Under the direction of the Office of the Chief Technologist, branch personnel in SMAB lead and serve as the facilitation and analysis team for the S&T collaboration topic area of in-space assembly (iSA) currently being pursued by the S&T Partnership Forum. As part of the S&T Partnership Forum, SMAB personnel serve to coordinate and facilitate partner dialogue, collect data and perform data analysis, and assemble data products to inform decision makers on recommendations for partnerships to be executed at the program and project levels within the partnering agencies.

Currently, the S&T iSA facilitation and analysis team has facilitated two government-only technical interchange meetings, or TIMs, among the partnership agencies. The team has worked to establish a value proposition and strategic framework for interagency collaboration in iSA within the partnership as a foundation to deliver value and achieve iSA topic objectives. Early products of these efforts include the definition of iSA capabilities, design drivers, and stakeholder goals to facilitate dialogue within the partnership and the larger community.