Headlines > News > New international standard for spacecraft docking

New international standard for spacecraft docking

Published by Matt on Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:38 am via: source
Share
More share options
Tools
Tags

Partners in the International Space Station programme have agreed on a new standard for docking systems, which will be capable also of implementing berthing. The agreement allows a range of compatible, but not necessarily identical, mechanisms for spacecraft docking. A first agreed version of the Interface Definition Document will be released on 25 October.

ISS seen from the Space Shuttle after undocking. This view was captured with a 70mm handheld camera through the Space Shuttle Discovery's crew optical alignment system (COAS) during separation operations. The undocking took place at 9:52 (CDT) on 20 August 2001. Credits: NASA

ISS seen from the Space Shuttle after undocking. This view was captured with a 70mm handheld camera through the Space Shuttle Discovery's crew optical alignment system (COAS) during separation operations. The undocking took place at 9:52 (CDT) on 20 August 2001. Credits: NASA

The International Docking System Standard (IDSS) provides the guidelines for a common interface to link spacecraft together. It builds on the heritage of the Russian developed APAS system (Androgynous Peripheral Attachment System) used for the Space Shuttle for the ‘hard docking’ and the innovative soft-capture features of the new NASA and ESA systems. Other agencies will be free to choose specific features behind the interface.

“The IDSS is an outstanding example of international collaboration. We have developed a common language for docking systems to use the same ‘words’ in space when it comes to work together,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight.

The International Berthing Docking Mechanism. Credits: ESA

The International Berthing Docking Mechanism. Credits: ESA

“The Docking Standard sweeps away the boundaries for a truly global exploration endeavour. It will also make joint spacecraft docking operations more routine and eliminate critical obstacles to joint space exploration undertakings,” she continued.

“Today, our future in space is more open-minded than ever. ESA has been committed to the development of this standard since the inception of the working group and has contributed to the document defining this standard interface. We have been working for a number of years on the development of the IBDM (International Berthing Docking Mechanism) and we are willing to make the IBDM compatible with this new international docking standard,” Simonetta Di Pippo concluded.

Russian 'hard-docking' mechanism used in Souyz and Progress vehicles. Credits: NASA

Russian 'hard-docking' mechanism used in Souyz and Progress vehicles. Credits: NASA

Open and flexible standard

The initial IDSS definition document will be released into the public domain on 25 October. It will contain a preliminary description of the physical features and design loads of the standard docking interface.

The technical teams from the five ISS partner agencies will continue to work on additional refinements and additions to the initial standard. ESA, NASA, Roscosmos, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency are represented on the Multilateral Coordination Board, which coordinates Station activities among the partners.

3 Comments
"Hell, it's about time!"

This one will probably go unnoticed by most but it is imho one of those really critical steps into a new world of a) even more international cooperation and b) upcoming, different commercial providers that all want to dock to different places.
Yup, its like hardware and software standardization. It will greatly facilitate commercialization and reduce costs. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to become a fixed standard that everyone builds to.
Space X, are you compliant with this new 'standard'?
Leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use