Universal Space Interface Standard (USIS) is a physical interface between medium to large manned or unmanned spacecraft such as satellites, space stations and service tugs.It is designed to be suitable for adoption as an industry standard. Development is currently being undertaken by Mark Hempsell at Hempsell Astronautics Ltd. The rationale for the creation of an industry standard for spacecraft interfaces is that the number of applications for space vehicles is likely to increase greatly in the future (space tourism being a recent example). If each craft is utilising a common interface many new applications become feasible. This is somewhat analogous to the benefits which have been gained by widespread adoption of the USB connector in computing or even the standardisation of AC power plugs and sockets across some parts of the world.
The fundamental purpose of USIS has been stated to "be a standard connection that maximises the interconnectivity between independent systems in both the open space (orbital) and celestial body surface environments".To achieve this USIS must be suitable for a range of connection types, from ground made connections to hard docking between orbiting spacecraft. It must also be highly interconnectable (for example being fully androgynous, any two USISs being compatible), capable of bearing expected loads, capable of soft capture, and be able to sever the connection in a controlled manner. USIS also needs to be able to facilitate data, power and resource transfer when connected, and allow easy passage of personnel who are not necessarily trained astronauts in anticipation of the Space Tourism industry. Three potential designs have been proposed for the USIS concept, one from Reaction Engines, one from Qinetiq and one most recently from Hempsell Astronautics.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to space science:
Spaceflight is flight into or through outer space and an application of astronautics. Spaceflight can occur with spacecraft with or without humans on board in form of human spaceflight or uncrewed spaceflight. Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union was the first human to conduct a spaceflight. Examples of human spaceflight include the U.S. Apollo Moon landing and Space Shuttle programs and the Russian Soyuz program, as well as the ongoing International Space Station. Examples of uncrewed spaceflight include space probes that leave Earth orbit, as well as satellites in orbit around Earth, such as communications satellites. These operate either by telerobotic control or are fully autonomous.
Mars Express is a space exploration mission being conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Mars Express mission is exploring the planet Mars, and is the first planetary mission attempted by the agency. "Express" originally referred to the speed and efficiency with which the spacecraft was designed and built. However "Express" also describes the spacecraft's relatively short interplanetary voyage, a result of being launched when the orbits of Earth and Mars brought them closer than they had been in about 60,000 years.
Astronautics is the theory and practice of travel beyond Earth's atmosphere into outer space. Spaceflight is one of its main applications and space science its overarching field.
Telerobotics is the area of robotics concerned with the control of semi-autonomous robots from a distance, chiefly using Wireless network or tethered connections. It is a combination of two major subfields, teleoperation and telepresence.
A spaceplane is a vehicle that can fly/glide like an aircraft in Earth's atmosphere and maneuver like a spacecraft in outer space. To do so, spaceplanes must incorporate features of both aircraft and spacecraft, occupying an intermediate space between the two. Orbital spaceplanes are more like spacecraft, while sub-orbital spaceplanes are more like fixed-wing aircraft. All spaceplanes to date have been rocket-powered but then landed as unpowered gliders.
Skylon is a series of designs for a single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane by the British company Reaction Engines Limited (REL), using SABRE, a combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system. The vehicle design is for a hydrogen-fuelled aircraft that would take off from a purpose-built runway, and accelerate to Mach 5.4 at 26 kilometres (85,000 ft) altitude using the atmosphere's oxygen before switching the engines to use the internal liquid oxygen (LOX) supply to take it into orbit. It could carry 17 tonnes (37,000 lb) of cargo to an equatorial low Earth orbit (LEO); up to 11 tonnes (24,000 lb) to the International Space Station, almost 45% more than the capacity of the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle; or 7.3 tonnes (16,000 lb) to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), over 24% more than SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle in reusable mode. The relatively light vehicle would then re-enter the atmosphere and land on a runway, being protected from the conditions of re-entry by a ceramic composite skin. When on the ground, it would undergo inspection and necessary maintenance, with a turnaround time of approximately two days, and be able to complete at least 200 orbital flights per vehicle.
A CubeSat is a type of miniaturized satellite for space research that is made up of multiples of 10 cm × 10 cm × 10 cm cubic units. CubeSats have a mass of no more than 1.33 kilograms (2.9 lb) per unit, and often use commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components for their electronics and structure. CubeSats are commonly put in orbit by deployers on the International Space Station, or launched as secondary payloads on a launch vehicle. More than 1200 CubeSats have been launched as of January 2020. More than 1100 have been successfully deployed in orbit and more than 80 have been destroyed in launch failures.
In spaceflight, an orbital maneuver is the use of propulsion systems to change the orbit of a spacecraft. For spacecraft far from Earth an orbital maneuver is called a deep-space maneuver (DSM).
A launch vehicle or carrier rocket is a rocket-propelled vehicle used to carry a payload from Earth's surface to space, usually to Earth orbit or beyond. A launch system includes the launch vehicle, launch pad, vehicle assembly and fuelling systems, range safety, and other related infrastructure.
Space launch is the earliest part of a flight that reaches space. Space launch involves liftoff, when a rocket or other space launch vehicle leaves the ground, floating ship or midair aircraft at the start of a flight. Liftoff is of two main types: rocket launch, and non-rocket spacelaunch.
Space environment is a branch of astronautics, aerospace engineering and space physics that seeks to understand and address conditions existing in space that affect the design and operation of spacecraft. A related subject, space weather, deals with dynamic processes in the solar-terrestrial system that can give rise to effects on spacecraft, but that can also affect the atmosphere, ionosphere and geomagnetic field, giving rise to several other kinds of effects on human technologies.
Orel or Oryol, formerly Federation, and PPTS, is a project by Roscosmos to develop a new-generation, partially reusable crewed spacecraft.
ITUpSAT1, short for Istanbul Technical University picoSatellite-1) is a single CubeSat built by the Faculty of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Istanbul Technical University. It was launched on 23 September 2009 atop a PSLV-C14 satellite launch vehicle from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh in India, and became the first Turkish university satellite to orbit the Earth. It was expected to have a minimum of six-month life term, but it is still functioning for over two years. It is a picosatellite with side lengths of 10 centimetres (3.9 in) and a mass of 0.990 kilograms (2.18 lb).
Docking and berthing of spacecraft is the joining of two space vehicles. This connection can be temporary, or partially permanent such as for space station modules.
Secondary payload, also known as rideshare, is a smaller-sized payload transported to orbit on a launch vehicle that is mostly paid for—and with the date and time of launch and the orbital trajectory determined—by the entity that contracts and pays for the primary launch. As a result, the secondary payload typically obtains a substantially reduced price for transportation services to orbit, by accepting a trade off of the loss of control once the contract is signed and the payload is delivered to the launch vehicle supplier for integration to the launch vehicle. These tradeoffs typically include having little or no control over the launch date/time, the final orbital parameters, or the ability to halt the launch and remove the payload should a payload failure occur during ground processing prior to launch, as the primary payload typically purchases all of these launch property rights via contract with the launch services provider.
Mark Hempsell is a British aerospace engineer and CEO of Hempsell Astronautics Ltd. which is currently designing the Universal Space Interface Standard (USIS), a system which aims to standardise berthing, docking and attachment of satellites and other spacecraft. Mark formerly worked at Reaction Engines Limited, where he was a member of the board of directors as the Future Programmes Director.
Deep Space Industries, or DSI, was an American privately-held company operating in the space technology and space exploration sectors. It was acquired on January 1, 2019 by Bradford Space.
A ground segment consists of all the ground-based elements of a spacecraft system used by operators and support personnel, as opposed to the space segment and user segment. The ground segment enables management of a spacecraft, and distribution of payload data and telemetry among interested parties on the ground. The primary elements of a ground segment are: