Tether Applications, Inc. has proposed a system that would solve one of the key roadblocks to using the International Space Station for research purposes: the lack of down mass capability for returning experiments.
Dubbed SPEED, for Small Payload Express Earth Delivery, the system would use small re-entry capsules ejected for ISS by the crew. The vehicle would be de-orbited by a solar sail, re-enter the atmosphere, and be recovered in mid-air by aircraft.
Joe Carroll of Tether Applications, Inc. and Dan Rasky of NASA Ames Research Center presented the plan last month during the 14th Annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference. Selected slides from the presentation follow after the break.