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  • Lessons Learned from Developing and Operating MISSE - the First External, Commercial Testing Facility in Space

    Paper number



    Mr. Mark Gittleman, United States, Alpha Space Test & Research Alliance, LLC



    This paper explores the many lessons learned from the design, development, implementation, launch, installation, commissioning, and first 18 months of on-orbit operations of the MISSE platform and payloads.  MISSE is a privately owned and operated testing facility permanently installed on the exterior of the ISS. Its owner, Alpha Space Test & Research Alliance, LLC, provides commercial testing services in the external environment of space through arrangements with the ISS National Lab and NASA. Alpha Space is a woman-owned small business. 
    The first ten months of MISSE service (April-Jan 2018) included the launch, robotic installation, and commissioning of the MISSE fixed facility on the ISS at the ELC2 location; the commissioning and on-going operation of the Alpha Space payload operations control center (POCC); the robotic installation of 11 MISSE Science Carriers (MSC) carrying over 700 scientific samples and experiments; the planned removal and return of one MSC; and the unplanned replacement of one of two MISSE avionics boxes. 2019 planned activities include: the robotic installation of up to six more integrated MSCs; the robotic removal of up to six previously-installed MSCs for return to earth; de-integration and return of the experiments to their owners; replacement of the second MISSE avionics box.
    Items to be addressed in the paper include:
    •	MISSE achievements to-date, forward plans, and long-term outlook
    •	MISSE planning, accommodation, and implementation, including how to find the balance between minimizing the non-recurring costs of developing a commercial space facility and designing for long-term on-orbit operations. 
    •	A description of the planning, implementation, and results of the 2019 activities 
    •	NASA and private scientific and industrial utilization of MISSE to-date
    •	NASA and private engineering research and technology demonstration using MISSE to-date
    •	The challenges of providing a commercial service through government entities
    •	The challenges of creating a market for a new commercial space service
    •	The outlook for commercial test beds in LEO aboard the ISS and other orbiting facilities
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-19,B3,3,7,x50381.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.