Space Forum September 14: New NASA Technologies

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The National Space Society invites you to the next Space Forum

Thursday, September 14, 2023, 9:00 pm to 10:15 pm EST

NASA New Technologies:
On-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing


James Tomaka

Although servicing of satellites has been theoretically considered since the early days of spaceflight, progress has been slow. However, in recent years, government and private industry is pursuing a more sustainable future in space.

In the past three decades, some of the most extraordinary successes in space exploration involved in-orbit repair and construction. Five servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope and countless spacewalks to assemble the International Space Station required astronauts to conduct activities outside the confines of their vehicle. Going forward, the next generation of space activities and construction can involve robotics to refuel satellites, perform orbit relocation, or building large structures in space and on the Moon.

Government entities and commercial industry are entering the fray to develop the necessary technologies for the nascent in-orbit servicing industry. Jim’s presentation will cover NASA’s original 1960’s concepts for satellite servicing through the Hubble Space Telescope. Jim will then discuss NASA’s newest technologies to perform servicing missions robotically and provide a preview of the OSAM-1 mission, which will for the first time ever, robotically refuel a U.S. government satellite not designed to be serviced. Don’t miss this informative space forum which will introduce you to technologies necessary for a sustained future in space. Use the link below to register.

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James Tomaka is a mission systems engineer on NASA’s On-orbit Assembly and Manufacturing-1 (OSAM-1) mission scheduled to launch in 2026. OSAM-1 is part of NASA’s Exploration and In-space Services projects division, which develops groundbreaking, more sustainable technologies to service spacecraft and pioneer in-space assembly and manufacturing. Jim is assigned to the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFFC) in Greenbelt MD and is employed by Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) as a senior principal systems engineer.

Jim previously worked for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) program as an RF engineer for 25 years. His communications systems relayed data from the Hubble Space Telescope and for over 120 Space Shuttle missions. Other experiences included working in the Optics Department at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) supporting a broad range of customers including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). His career started out at the Holloman High Speed Test Track in the timing/telemetry section collecting data from rocket sled tests.

Jim is a graduate of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces NM. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Computer Engineering and a Masters Certificate in Systems Engineering. Jim is also a board member with the International Space Hall of Fame Foundation supporting the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, NM. To unwind, Jim is an avid amateur astronomer (Astro-photographer) and performs outreach in southern New Mexico and west Texas parks and schools, encouraging the next generation of space explorers and engineers.

Register today to reserve your seat and ask your questions. Use the link below.

Register no later than September 14 at 8 pm EST

Past NSS Space Forums and Town Halls may be viewed here.


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Contributors to the NSS Blog are unpaid volunteers. Unless specifically labeled an NSS position or press release, all blog posts represent the views of the author and not of NSS, even if written by an NSS officer.

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