The Consortium for Space Mobility and ISAM Capabilities (COSMIC) is a US, nationwide coalition that will invigorate domestic in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM) capability.
COSMIC’s mission is to make In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) a routine part of space architectures and mission lifecycles to achieve the benefits described in the ISAM National Strategy (Apr 2022). Goals will be approached in three thrusts: capability development, ecosystem economics and mission applications.
In response to the White House’s National ISAM Strategy and National ISAM Implementation Plan (Dec 2022), COSMIC was founded as a nationwide effort to bring together stakeholders from communities who have a vested interest in the nation’s leadership in ISAM. NASA sponsors the consortium, but the priorities and deliverables are selected by a Steering Committee (SC) that includes members from government agencies, commercial companies, and academia.
The Aerospace Corporation is contracted by NASA to act as the Consortium Management Entity (CME). The CME manages COSMIC operations, ensures coordination among the members (industry, government, and academia), leads communication activities and events, provides focus area leads and coordination, and provides administrative support.
COSMIC will be a nationwide alliance of:
- Commercial Companies
- Nonprofit Research Institutions
- Industry Groups
- Existing ISAM Organizations
- Civil and DoD Government Departments and Agencies
COSMIC membership is limited to U.S. persons representing the U.S. government and U.S.-based organizations. COSMIC encourages its members to collaborate internationally, but COSMIC as an entity will focus on domestic coordination on ISAM. The portion of the United States’ ISAM National Strategy and National ISAM Implementation Plan that includes promotion of international collaboration and cooperation as one of their goals will be addressed by other mechanisms.
COSMIC helps enable the advancement and implementation of ISAM for all U.S. missions and assets in Earth orbit and cis-lunar space, including commercial missions, government missions, public/private partnership missions, and U.S. participation in international cooperation missions.
COSMIC is not a standards development organization, but COSMIC will identify, support, and promulgate standards developed by others to encourage widespread adoption on flight programs. Though COSMIC does not develop or own standards, it does recognize that ISAM standards must be global. COSMIC will maintain awareness of and share the work being performed by CONFERS, which is a not-for-profit trade association to develop industry-led standards for satellite servicing that contribute to a sustainable, safe, and diverse space economy.
The Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS) is an international trade group open to industry, academic research institutions, governments, and for-profit organizations and individuals who are interested in furthering the commercial satellite servicing industry. Additionally, CONFERS is evaluating international policy on servicing, deorbit after removal, and bringing operational capability to market to support a viable revenue stream while being safe and interoperable globally.
COSMIC is a U.S.-only organization open to industry, academia, and government organizations with an interest in fostering U.S. leadership in ISAM as an enabling technology and a vehicle for workforce development. COSMIC assists U.S. Government, industry, and academia with sharing and coordinating plans, technologies, and capabilities. Additionally, COSMIC is investigating U.S. policies as they relate to ISAM.
The Consortium Management Entity (CME) will be soliciting ideas for metrics from its members in 2023. Potential metrics may include the number of National ISAM Implementation Plan objectives that COSMIC fulfills and contributes to for the U.S. Government, the number of products COSMIC produces, investment in ISAM capabilities by the commercial marketplace, or the number of successful ISAM missions conducted by COSMIC members.
Each year, COSMIC will produce products such as technology state-of-the-art assessments, summaries of future ISAM-enabled missions, white papers, gap assessments and recommendations, summary roadmaps, and other products as needed.
COSMIC does not fund technology development, flight maturation, flight qualification, mission studies, or other work best suited to USG agencies, commercial companies, or academia. COSMIC coordinates and facilitates communication between these organizations to reduce unnecessary duplication and increase community awareness of current and future plans.
Agencies, companies, or institutions that want to see a specific product generated by the consortium should raise this with the Steering Committee to garner support for this product. Every year, the SC will prioritize the following year’s activities and products. Input from members regarding which current products they think are important or what new products should be created is vital to keeping members engaged and keeping the consortium relevant and useful.
COSMIC will not provide any funding to its members. By contributing their time, members who choose to participate in creating products will be able to influence the future direction of the nation’s activity in ISAM. Members who attend regular Focus Area sessions, coordinate with other members via email and message boards, and attend General Membership Meetings will have a better understanding of future mission needs, technology developments, test capabilities, and policy and regulatory concerns of the other members. These activities will help companies and universities position themselves within an ISAM market or niche and will help U.S. government agencies reduce unnecessary duplication of effort.
After the kickoff in Fall 2023, COSMIC participation will include different paths, depending on the needs of the member organization. At minimum, all members should sign up for one or more Focus Areas (see below), where detailed discussions of Focus Area-specific ISAM implementation will be conducted in working groups that will create products specific to that Focus Area.
- Research & Technology
- Demonstration Infrastructure
- Missions & Ecosystems
- Policy & Regulation
- Workforce Development
In addition, members should sign up to be included on distribution lists for their appropriate caucus: government, industry, or academia. These caucuses communicate periodically to discuss ISAM topics specific to their sector and elect members of their caucus to represent their interests within the Steering Committee.
There are no dues or membership fees to join COSMIC; however, members cover their own time and travel expenses to participate in COSMIC events and working groups.
General membership in COSMIC does not require a specific service term commitment. However, for those on the Steering Committee a term commitment is required as defined in the COSMIC Operating Plan.
COSMIC plans to convene the general membership twice a year. The general membership meetings will be a hybrid format, including both in-person and virtual.
Additionally, focus area working groups, caucus working groups, and the Steering Committee will have their own in-person and/or virtual meeting cadence throughout the year.
As the consortium stands up in early 2023, each servicing mission that has flown to date has encountered “firsts” where the technology, CONOPS, regulations, or legal agreements are untested, unclear, or brand new. Each subsequent mission will encounter fewer firsts, and missions that use ISAM will design, test, and operate like any other new spacecraft, mission, or architecture. When this happens, COSMIC will no longer be needed and will disband.