PlanetSpace's crew transportation proposal for its NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration programme phase one space act agreement competition bid is a capsule that is being designed to carry three to six passengers.
The Chicago-based company, which has acquired Canadian Arrow, has teamed up with Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and the Bank of Montreal to bid for COTS. PlanetSpace will offer its Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) cargo transportation system using hardware from Lockheed Martin-built spacecraft such as the NASA Genesis capsule and the US Air Force Research Laboratories space vehicles directorate's XSS-11 micro satellite.
Above: PlanetSpace's Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) is docked with the International Space Station's Harmony module using the ISS robotic arm. Inset is a picture of the proposed ATK designed launcher for OTV.
The launch vehicle for the OTV is to be designed by ATK using its knowledge of booster stages. The crew version may be called the Crew Transfer Vehicle and would be compatible with commercially available rockets, such as California-based Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9.
The COTS programme is being readied to supply the International Space Station after the Space Shuttle fleet's scheduled retirement in the third quarter of 2010.
"There is a lot of potential synergy with the Orion programme but [Orion] is being looked at to go to the Moon. The capsule on top [of the cargo vehicle], [the crew transport] will look similar to that. It is in the [COTS] proposal. It is being evaluated right now [by NASA]. [It would carry] three to six crew," says Lockheed Martin's advanced programmes for human spaceflight director and its PlanetSpace team leader Al Simpson.
Lockheed Martin has been working on autonomous cargo systems since NASA's alternative access to station programme. PlanetSpace also submitted a response to NASA's request for information for the development of its commercial International Space Station resupply policy.