DESIGN FOR X: ENABLING THE REUSE OF SPACE HARDWARE?
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nadège Troussier
Author: Weiss, Bernd Michael; Öhrwall Rönnbäck, Anna; Laufer, René; Clauss, Margot
Institution: Luleå University of Technology
Section: Design Methods
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/pds.2023.126
With a growing number of objects in space, the pressure to be sustainable and more efficient with resources is increasing. Driven by technological advancements, the reuse of space hardware becomes feasible and viable as alternative to spacecraft end-of-life disposal. Reuse of space hardware promises benefits in areas like mitigating space debris risks, cost reductions, and environmental sustainability on Earth and in space. However, challenges related to the space environment, like micro gravity, unknown changes due to radiation, and the energy requirements to perform maneuvers in space must be addressed in order to enable spacecraft reusability. Nonetheless, reuse of space hardware is an important objective related to long-term space exploration with implications on the human expansion into space. This paper investigates the requirements for reusability of spacecraft and if circular economy strategies can support implementing reusability for spacecraft. Based on the finding of expert interviews, it argues for design as a key enabler. It introduces design for X, design for circularity, and design for reusability, and explores how reusability of space hardware implies the need to include the space environment in design decisions.