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Rocketplane Kistler & Space Exploration
K-1 Experiment Design Requirements Document
PDF Format 2.5MB

Interface Definition and Requirements Document
Internal Experiments 0.6MB
External Experiments 0.7MB

Preliminary Questionnaire
Internal Experiments
External Experiments
  In January 2004, the United States announced a new Vision for Space Exploration, calling for a step-by-step approach to opening new frontiers, furthering scientific research, returning to the Moon, and ultimately enabling exploration to Mars and other destinations. Furthering this vision will require affordable, reliable and frequent access to space; technology flight demonstration platforms; and low cost small satellite and robotic missions. The K-1 reusable vehicle can play a key role in implementing the U.S. vision for space exploration.

Conducting exploration missions will require cost-effective launch alternatives to existing services and increased flight opportunities for experiments and small satellites. The K-1 will be a potential launch service provider to expand access to space for exploration, such as for new small satellite missions or rover missions to the Moon and Mars.

Satellite and Robotic Missions
Small satellite missions have historically contributed to space exploration and are poised to play a significant role in the new space exploration vision. For satellite missions to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the K-1 can fly dedicated missions or multiple small satellites on a “rideshare” basis in which payloads share the price of a K-1 launch and integration.

For exploration missions to interplanetary targets, the K-1 can be outfitted with an Active Dispenser (expendable upper stage) to fly dedicated or multiple small satellite rideshare missions for exploration purposes. This capability enables the deployment of scientific, communication, or navigation satellites into Low Lunar Orbit or rovers onto the Moon’s surface.

More information on the K-1’s capability is in the K-1 Payload User’s Guide and its addendums.

Technology Demonstration
In addition, space exploration will require testing and re-testing of critical technologies needed for going to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The K-1 provides a flight-test platform for demonstrating technologies, such as advanced structures and materials, modular avionics, integrated health management systems, on-board operations systems, non-pyrotechnic separation systems, batteries, rendezvous sensors and algorithms, and autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations (ARPO), in a full-flight environment. RPK has already defined standard experiment environments, accommodations and interfaces to facilitate integration as part of RPK’s previous flight demonstration contract with NASA.

Interested experimenters may download the K-1 Flight Experiments Design & Requirements Document (FEDR) and its appendices (see Sidebar) for more information. The FEDR and its appendices define the K-1 environments and experiment accommodations for add-on flight experiments. The Interface Definition and Requirements Document (IDRD) describes the standard experiment interfaces on the K-1 and the preliminary questionnaires provide a mechanism for screening and manifesting potential flight experiments on the K-1. Once an experiment has been manifested, a detailed questionnaire will be completed to complete the definition of the experiment interface.

RPK encourages all technology developers to download and review these documents. Please contact RPK by completing and submitting a preliminary questionnaire so that RPK can initiate further discussions.

Embedded Technology
The K-1 demonstrates a number of embedded technologies
  Add-On Technology Experiments
The K-1 provides a full mission environment for demonstrating a variety of add-on technology experiments.

Click on image to view a more detailed version of this diagram.

Click on image to view a more detailed version of this diagram.