Game Changer: In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing for the New Space Economy
Technological progress in spacecraft life extension, debris removal, space operations autonomy, and robotics will disrupt the traditional paradigm of spacecraft design, acquisition, launch, operations, and maintenance. A new generation of spacecraft designed specifically for In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) is leading this charge towards a new space economy. Within the next few years, spacecraft refueling will be demonstrated and commercial fueling depots may emerge to enable increased on-orbit maneuverability and orbital anomaly recovery. There are many obstacles to overcome before an active, self-sustaining on-orbit economy is established, but recent demonstrations, developments, and investments in ISAM technologies will pave the path forward.
Authors: Alec J. Cavaciuti, Joseph H. Heying, and Joshua Davis