Status Report

Space Transportation Technology Roadmap

By SpaceRef Editor
July 31, 2011
Filed under , ,
Space Transportation Technology Roadmap

A Collaboration by Government and Industry To Address U.S. Government and Commercial Space Transportation Needs

Release 1.0

21 October 2010

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This Space Transportation Technology Roadmap proposes a path that enables the U.S. to maintain indigenous full spectrum space access. In parallel it presents opportunities for cross- pollination and collaboration between Government and industry stakeholders in support of shared near, mid, and long term objectives. As a tertiary benefit, it could lead to a new generation of scientists and engineers in industry, academia, and Government, dedicated to mainstreaming space transportation for multiple missions and markets. SUSTAIN, to include an eventual reusable human-rated capability, represents one visionary objective for DoD, and served as the genesis of this roadmap. However, roadmap stakeholders concur that this particular national security application of space transportation is merely a niche in the full spectrum of utility. Furthermore, in the nearer-term much can be accomplished with mature, multi-use technologies for multiple customers and markets. Stakeholders concurred that the following can serve as starting points in defining a fully integrated and coordinated National spiral initiative addressing overlapping needs and spurring progress.

This roadmap is broadly inclusive in capturing the multitude of U.S. national security, civil, and industry-commercial interests in space transportation that exist today. Still, it is useful to discuss its national security military origins. Roadmap development was most recently sparked by a validated military need for space transportation, namely the Marine Corps Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion (SUSTAIN) capability. Although SUSTAIN represents a mere niche within the full range of potential space transportation applications, the idea harkens back to the birth of the American space program. Reciting the vision of DoD leaders with respect to the exceptional potential of space transportation, even during an earlier age of immature space- related capabilities is useful. It serves as a testament to both the inexorable inevitability of space transportation and our specific National interest in maintaining leadership in developing the enabling technologies.

SpaceRef staff editor.