Creating A Universal Space Interface Standard

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M. Hempsell (2016), JBIS, 69, pp.175-182

Refcode: 2016.69.175
Keywords: USIS, docking, berthing, launch interfaces

The Universal Space Interface Standard (USIS) is a concept that combines the requirements of docking, berthing and launcher payload attachment into a single common interface standard. Such an interface is key to establishing any kind of space infrastructure which can lead to an expansion in the range of space activities. The advantages of standardising human spaceflight docking systems have long been widely recognised, but the background to the USIS concept with its wider applicability was established during Skylon requirement validation exercises. This established that the basic concept of a universal interface was viable and also explored the range of technical and functional options that could be incorporated in it. A requirement specification defining the standard that was suitable for all roles and environments was produced. In view of the promise it showed it was decided to pursue the concept further by establishing an organisation to manage its development. Using a model based on that used by the consumer electronics industry, the USIS Association was conceived as a neutral body that would develop and control the standard. Thus it is a corporate body which is owned by all stakeholders in the USIS; including government space agencies, commercial system operators and the manufacturers of space systems. This would lead to an open standard available to all mankind on an equal basis enabling any space system to connect with any other from any national background.

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