Free Maneuvering of Space Vehicles

Stephen D LaLumondiere (
Fri, 23 Jul 1999 18:03:28 -0700

Thought some of you in the group might be interested in this.  The Article 
comes from Defense Daily, 07/22/99


  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is studying how to 
move space vehicles freely, rather than having them rely on traditional 
orbiting cycles, and the implications of such movement, DARPA director Frank 
Fernandez said yesterday.

  "We don't maneuver in space very much," he told reporters at a Defense 
Writers Group breakfast. "What we do is we go into space and we park in 
orbit. What would happen if we could figure out a way to maneuver in space at 
will? What could you do from the standpoint of concentrating resources and 
from the standpoint of targeting?"

  Such free space travel is hampered by lack of fuel. DARPA is studying 
different kinds of more efficient, less costly and safe fuel and a possible 
space tanker to refuel satellites and other space vehicles. Unrestricted 
space travel requires making "fuel a commodity in space," Fernandez said, 
adding that free travel may mean that enemies will no longer be able to 
predict when U.S. satellites will pass overhead.

  The DARPA director, who has been in his position since May, touched on a 
number of other topics in addition to DARPA's new space effort.