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  • Adaptable orbital service for low earth orbits

    Paper ID



    • J.J. Runavot
    • C. Tarrieu


    Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales






    Based upon the SOLARIS concept which was previously described (I.A.F. 81-49) the set up of an orbital service for low earth orbits is described here. The basic SOLARIS concept comprises two main vehicles. The first is an orbital service module compatible with a dawn-dark sun-synchronous orbit and a near-equatorial orbit with a restricted number of modifications. This service module can support, for electrical power, attitude control, data handling and transmission, a various number of systems or missions ranging from micro-wave earth observation to manned modules, through material processing, assembly and check-out of large vehicles and so on. The second one ensures basically the functions of transportation to the service modulé and the return to earth. In a modular concept, with a core module comprising propulsion, artitude and trajectory control and rendez-vous and docking sub-system, it can, with different payloads, (re-entry body, telemanipulation module,...), ensure a large variety of missions : servicing and maintenance of satellite, material or payload transport, even transport of crew. The entire programme is expensive and ambitious. Starting almost from the present state of orbital operation possibilities (launches by ARIANE 4 and a possibility of frse-flying recoverable vehicles with the Shuttle),.and analyzing through the years the evolution of potential promising missions with their associated requirements, a scenario of progressive qualification and set-up of the system is presented. A projection is made to the end of the century to show the possibility of operating an European manned permanent station.