Monday, December 10, 2007

Space tug offered to NASA as new space delivery system

NASA has been offered an interesting new way to deliver cargo to the ISS and other outer space targets. Space Systems/Loral has submitted proposals for $175 million in Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration money, following NASA's decision to withdraw support from Rocketplane Kistler's stalled K-1 reusable launcher program. NASA is offering a total of $500 million to companies who can show potential ideas for space delivery systems. SpaceX already is entitled to $278 million in grants for it's Dragon rocket system. The Space System/Loral team would use the company's proven 1300-series satellite bus as a refuelable space tug that would remain in orbit for as long as 10 years. After docking with and escorting an essentially dumb cargo vessel to the station, the vehicle would remove it from the station and allow it to be de-orbited over an ocean. The technology is almost all there it is simply a new concept that may be very workable in the end. I think NASA will like this because it is all American made and possible reliable and reusable. Only time will tell.

The Fool

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