On Nov. 9, 2017, NASA's Restore-L project successfully completed its Mission Preliminary Design Review (MPDR). During the review, an independent Standing Review Board (SRB) comprised of subject matter experts both internal and external to NASA determined all design plans for the technology demonstration project are viable and sound.
The successful completion of the MPDR marks an important milestone in the establishment of a satellite servicing industry. Technologies from this demonstration will be available to all interested U.S. companies through NASA's technology transfer processes.
Restore-L encompasses many NASA firsts. It will develop technologies necessary for the full-fledged refueling of a satellite in low-Earth orbit not designed to be serviced. Restore-L technologies could end the era of "one and done spacecraft" and open up a new world where fleet managers can call on robotic mechanics to diagnose, maintain, and extend the lifespan of their assets. Servicing can make spaceflight more sustainable, affordable, and resilient.
The November review came on the heels of the Restore-L spacecraft bus Preliminary Design Review held in July. While completion of prior reviews demonstrated individual elements of the project met system requirements and acceptable risk, the MPDR evaluated all the elements together and how they work as a system.
The SRB heard presentations from the Restore-L team over the course of three days, in order to evaluate the project. In addition to finding Restore-L satisfied all MPDR criteria, board members stated several Restore-L elements exceeded maturity expectations.
"The successful MPDR is a testament to the Restore-L team's incredible work and lays important groundwork for the next stages of review," said Brent Robertson, the Restore-L project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The MPDR is the last milestone before the major Key Decision Point C, scheduled for early next year, after which the project officially enters its implementation phase.
By Vanessa Lloyd
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
December 11, 2017