Thu, Jul 05, 2012
Expanded Crew And Cargo Capability Provided By Pressurized Pod
The company leading development of the Liberty commercial spacecraft says it will be able to offer an expanded crew and cargo capability. The extended cargo configuration will allow the Liberty spacecraft, being developed by ATK, to take full advantage of the launch vehicle lift capacity to transport a pressurized pod (the Liberty Logistics Module or LLM) along with the composite crew module. Based on NASA’s 15-foot diameter Multi-Purpose Logistic Module design, the LLM will include a common berthing mechanism and will be capable of transporting up to 5,100 pounds of pressurized cargo. With that capability, the LLM could be used to transport four full-size science racks to the International Space Station – along with a team of scientists to perform the associated science.
“Liberty’s expanded service allows us to bring a commercial capability delivering up to seven crew members, 5,000 pounds of pressurized cargo, along with external cargo in a single flight,” said Kent Rominger, ATK vice president and program manager for Liberty. “This results in tremendous value since all other commercial offerings would need two flights to accomplish what Liberty does in one.”
While on the launch pad and during launch, the LLM will be fully protected by a lightweight shroud. Once the launch vehicle is through the earth’s atmosphere, the shroud is no longer needed and will be jettisoned, maximizing payload capability.
The Liberty team is developing a complete commercial space service to revolutionize access to Earth orbit. The system is built on safety, reliability and market value, all essential to the success of the emerging commercial market and NASA. Blending new composite and electronics technology with the lessons learned in 50 years of human spaceflight produces a unique capability for human space flight. Liberty is an international venture dedicated to using the best people, lean production processes and flight-proven hardware to significantly reduce the cost while dramatically increasing the safety of space access.
Liberty is a complete commercial crew system that includes a human-rated composite spacecraft, advanced abort system, a reliable, affordable and capable commercial launch vehicle to low Earth orbit and ground and mission operations, which were all designed from inception to meet NASA’s human-rating requirements. Unmanned test flights are planned for 2014 and 2015, followed by the first human flights in 2015 with a Liberty flight crew flying to the International Space Station.
(Images provided by ATK)
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