Sunday, October 24, 2010

ESA - New international standard for spacecraft docking

European, Russian, Canadian and Japanese Partners in the International Space Station programme have agreed on a new standard for docking systems, which will be capable also of implementing berthing.

The agreement allows a range of compatible, but not necessarily identical, mechanisms for spacecraft docking. A first agreed version of the Interface Definition Document will be released on 25 October.

The International Docking System Standard (IDSS) provides the guidelines for a common interface to link spacecraft together.

It builds on the heritage of the Russian developed APAS system (Androgynous Peripheral Attachment System) used for the Space Shuttle for the ‘hard docking’ and the innovative soft-capture features of the new NASA and ESA systems. Other agencies will be free to choose specific features behind the interface.

“The IDSS is an outstanding example of international collaboration. We have developed a common language for docking systems to use the same 'words' in space when it comes to work together,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight.

“The Docking Standard sweeps away the boundaries for a truly global exploration endeavour. It will also make joint spacecraft docking operations more routine and eliminate critical obstacles to joint space exploration undertakings,” she went on and on.

To allow you to buil your own model at home, a PDF copy of the International Docking Standard document can be downloaded from here

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