The Department of Military Innovations (DIU) of the US Department of Defense announced a competition for the development of an orbital station, which could be used for experiments and cargo storage.
According to the list of requirements that the Pentagon makes to potential bidders, a prospective orbital station must be suitable for space construction, experiments with microgravity, training, testing, storage of cargo and their transportation, as well as for performing certain “other functions”. As part of the tender, participants must design and build a prototype of a small robotic orbital station with a volume of one cubic meter.
A prospective station should be suitable for work with cargo or any other payload weighing up to 80 kilograms. The on-board power source must provide 1 kilowatt of energy, and the station’s communication systems must exchange data at a speed of at least 100 kilobits per second. The competition will be held in several stages. First we will talk about the design of the station.
In 2020, the development and launching of prototypes of orbital stations should begin – from the moment a contract is concluded until the launch of prototypes, according to the requirements of the military, no more than two years will pass. Prototypes should be assembled on a modular basis and provide for the possibility of subsequent modernization. Among the functions of the station, the Pentagon also included people on board.
In addition, the station should be able to change the orbit, work outside the low-Earth orbit, docking with other manned and unmanned spacecraft, as well as assembling other objects in orbit using one or more robotic manipulators. Applications will be accepted by the Department of Military Innovations on July 9.