The American company Lockheed Martin planned creation of space analog of the transcontinental railroad for travel in deep space.
The system will consist of three Basic Elements: the Jupiter spacecraft, the cargo container Exoliner of the size of the railway car and the robot manipulator. Jupiter together with completely completed "truck" of Exoliner will be started in space by means of the heavy carrier rocket Atlas V. The device will deliver the container with the food to ISS and will dock to it; astronauts will unload Exoliner and then will fill, for example, with waste. Later, when ISS will be required the next delivery from Earth, the new container Exoliner will be started by the Atlas V rocket, and Jupiter which is all this time in an orbit "will pick up" it and will deliver to ISS, at the same time having taken away from station the old container and having sent it to Earth together with the fulfilled missile stage. Authors of the project note that such scheme of transportation will be most favorable existing and will provide big loading capacity. Jupiter is constructed according to the same scheme that the Martian orbital device MAVEN, automatic interplanetary station Juno ("Juno") started to Jupiter and the perspective OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft. Exoliner is developed by Thales Alenia Space corporation which built the automatic cargo ATV spaceship for the European space agency. The robot manipulator is designed by the MDA company and based on the technologies which are successfully applied on ISS and space shuttles more than 30 years. Potentially such system can serve intermediate points when flying to celestial bodies in far space. The "fleet" of the devices Jupiter with the containers Exoliner located on the way, say, to Mars can solve a problem of transportation of freights in deep space and provide astronauts with the necessary food, fuel, water and the equipment.Read More: Science and Technology