NASA today released the top level requirements for the Orbital Space Plane – a next generation system of space vehicles designed to provide a crew rescue and crew transport capability to and from the International Space Station. These requirements set the foundation for the design of the vehicle and its associated systems.
The Level I requirements for an Orbital Space Plane system were developed based on NASA's missions as defined in the Integrated Space Transportation Plan and inputs from the industry and Department of Defense partners participating in the program. The requirements were reviewed at multiple levels within the agency. The final review and approval process included the NASA Administrator, Deputy Administrator, as well as the Associate Administrators for the Office of Aerospace Technology and the Office of Human Space Flight.
"This is an important first step in making the Integrated Space Transportation Plan a reality," said NASA Deputy Administrator Frederick Gregory. "The Orbital Space Plane system will give us the flexibility needed to safely and efficiently get crew to and from orbit and to provide crew rescue and logistical support to the International Space Station. These initial requirements help to outline a comprehensive system that will significantly complement the capabilities of our existing Space Shuttle fleet."
Any future changes to the Level I Requirements would be considered by the Orbital Space Plane Program Office and require approval from the NASA Executive Council.
The program now is in the process of developing Level II Requirements for the Orbital Space Plane system. Unlike the Level I requirements, which were defined by NASA, Level II requirements will be defined at the program level and will be detailed in a document referred to as the Systems Requirements Document (SRD) planned for release no later than late 2003.
The requirements are available on the Internet at:
Orbital Space Plane Program Level - One Requirements
Mission Needs Statement
The vehicle(s) and associated systems will support U.S. ISS requirements for crew rescue, crew transport, and cargo.
a. The availability (defined as "a full-up vehicle able to perform its mission") for the escape mission shall be at least:
-- Objective: 99%
-- Minimum Threshold: 95%.
b. The risk of loss of crew shall be, with high confidence, lower than the Soyuz for the rescue mission.
* Rescue includes medical evacuation and emergency evacuation.