Planning a supply chain for space

photo from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c7/Carina_Nebula_composite_of_visible_and_infrared_light_(captured_by_the_Hubble_Space_Telescope).jpg
The replicator that can produce food, clothes, and other necessities on demand is familiar to all devotees of Star Trek. That device was actually essential for the Enterprise's extended mission, to keep the ship properly equipped without having to pack along whatever the crew might need at some point light years away from a home planet. Though such replicators are still in the realm of science fiction, we are getting closer to the point of extended space trips.
Going back to the moon and maybe even Mars
NASA just finalized a $2.8 billion contract with Boeing Co. to produce the Space Launch System (SLS). SLS is a rocket powerful enough to carry astronauts where no human has gone before. That includes exploration of asteroids, the moon, and, ultimately, Mars. The first test flight is planned for 2017, and the first manned flight for 2021.
While Boeing is working on NASA's rockets, MIT is working on supply chain management that solves the logistical challenges inherent in extended space travel. 
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Space & the Supply Chain

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