Lockheed Martin, an aerospace company, released an open source, non-proprietary Mission Augmentation Port (MAP) interface standard for on-orbit spacecraft docking on Monday, which may be downloaded from their website. The company thinks that the standard will hasten the development of technology that allows docking satellites to communicate with one another.
The Lockheed Martin standard includes data that can be used by designers to develop their own MAP-compliant docking adapters, such as the dimensions of plates and petals required for a compliant physical mate of docking port halves; suggestions for electrical interfaces and docking profiles; and data that can be used by designers to develop their own MAP-compliant docking adapters.
Lockheed Martin is working on its own Augmentation System Port Interface (ASPIN), which will be MAP-compliant. Between a host spacecraft and a satellite augmentation vehicle, the ASPIN adapter provides an electrical and data link (SAV). Lockheed is also collaborating with Orbit Fab, a San Francisco-based startup, on an end-to-end refuelling service based on its Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface (RAFTI).
“Just like USB was designed to standardize computer connections, these documents are designed to standardize how spacecraft connect to each other on orbit,” said Paul Pelley, senior director of Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Space. “We believe it’s in the best interest of the nation for the industry to have common interface standards to provide mission agility and enterprise interoperability.”