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Space exploration - An orbital maintenance platform in low Earth orbit; spacecraft; spaceship; space module; aerospace; robotic arm - Space Art Illustration
 

Orbital maintenance platform in low Earth orbit

This orbital maintenance platform (OMP) is the artist's conception of a possible solution for providing manned access to Earth-orbiting satellites for maintenance and repair.

45 feet tall with maximum diameter of 18 feet, this self-propelled and reusable spacecraft is composed of two basic parts: a 28-foot-long lower component in the style of an International Space Station (ISS) module containing a robotic arm and other tools for satellite maintenance and multi-thruster propulsion system, and an upper 12 x 12 foot pressurized component that includes a windowed cupola for manned operation of the maintenance tools. The pressurized component also includes hatches for extra-vehicular activities (EVA) should astronauts need to work outside the OMP.

This orbital maintenance platform could provide manned access to low-Earth orbiting satellites formerly provided by the now-retired Space Shuttle, and to higher orbiting satellites (e.g., NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory) that have been out of reach to the Space Shuttle.

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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