The In-Space Rescue Capability Gap

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The lessons of Apollo, Skylab and the space shuttle with respect to the rescue of astronauts in space seem to have been forgotten as the United States enters a new era of space flight that includes commercially provided spacecraft, space tourism, and the return of U.S. astronauts to the moon. The present posture, of not planning for in-space rescue and not having responsive in-space rescue capabilities, needs to be addressed before the need for a rescue materializes. The U. S. has the wherewithal to establish space rescue capabilities and to do so with a sense of urgency. This paper seeks to raise awareness of the need to revisit space rescue policies and close capability gaps.

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