The defense innovation unit (DIU) of the Ministry of defense signed with the American company Sierra Nevada a contract to develop an uninhabited space station, which at the first stage could be used as a space gas station or warehouse. As writes Breaking Defense, based on the space station is planned to put the service-cargo module Shooting Star that Sierra Nevada is developing to deliver cargo to the International space station.
The us military has a long time interest in the development of various technical means which would provide a relatively quick and cheap delivery of satellites into orbit and their distribution, as well as conducting various studies in the stratosphere and outer space. For example, to conduct research in microgravity and hypersonic motion in the interests of the United States air force is created hypersonic missile carrier X-60A. In may 2020 for the sixth time in orbit was launched unmanned orbital spaceplane X-37B, among other things, created in the framework of reusable spacecraft.
An order to develop the space station was signed with the Sierra Nevada on the results of the tender announced in the middle of last year. The competition involves the development of the concept of the orbital station, which could be used for experiments and storage. According to the list of requirements published on the website of the division, the new station shall be suitable for space construction, experiments with microgravity, training, testing, storage of goods and their transportation, “as well as to perform other functions.”
Initially, the OU defense innovation Pentagon planned to order to the winner of the competition of designing and prototyping a small robotic space station with an internal volume of 1 cubic meter. This station shall be suitable for cargo or payload up to 80 pounds. On-Board power source must be capable of lasting electric power of 1 kilowatt. The communication system must provide data exchange at speeds of at least 100 kilobits per second.
In the first stage, the space station will be deployed in low earth orbit, but later it can move to one of the medium earth orbits starting and ending of the lunar.
Shooting Star is sluzbe is a cargo module docking to the Dream Chaser spaceplane. It is created under contract to NASA. Under the agreement with the space Agency Dream Chaser needs to make six flights to the ISS in the period from 2021 to 2024. Module Shooting Star is a structure with a height of about 4.9 m. It is designed to carry cargo weighing up to 4.5 tons. This module will be used in the framework of NASA’s CRS-2 delivery of cargo to the International space station.