|Handbook of Space Technology|
Wilfred Ley - Klauss Wittmann - Willi Hallmann
Fecha de Estreno: Ene-2009
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Spaceflight - it is hard to imagine another field of engineering
science operating so closely at the frontier of
our technological capabilities, while at the same time
drawing on the resources of so many diverse scientific
disciplines. Developing and operating space systems
means achieving the lowest possible structural mass
at the highest levels of efficiency and reliability under
extreme environmental conditions of temperature,
radiation and vacuum.
Accordingly, the ability to develop and operate
space systems is not only an indicator of the technical,
scientific and industrial capacity of an individual
country or an alliance of nations, but also a factor
which significantly influences its economic competitiveness.
Space activities are a powerful propellant for
Today satellite-based communication, navigation
and weather forecasting are an integral part of daily life.
Global monitoring of our world has become a necessity
for studying climate development. Reconnaissance
satellites equipped with a wide variety of instruments
are as essential for disaster management as they are for
establishing an adequate security policy.
A multitude of probes are currently on a journey
through outer space and will provide us with new insights
in the area of physics and planetary evolution in
our solar system. Space activities have already become a
much larger part of our lives than many of us realize.
The development challenges described above are
especially applicable for the development human space
flight systems. There is hardly a terrestrial transport
system, no research station, however remote, in which
the lives of the people working there are as dependent
on the proper functioning and precise interactions of
so many subsystems as in a rocket or space station.
From July to December 2006, for almost six months,
I had the opportunity to live and work together with an
American and a Russian colleague on board the International
Space Station. Although our primary task was
scientific research in a variety of disciplines, the effort
required of us to operate such a station was relatively
high. Meanwhile the European Columbus Laboratory
went into operation and when the crew is expanded
to six people, as planned for mid 2009, it will be possible
to considerably increase the capacity to conduct
experiments on board the ISS. As far as the design of
future human space flight systems is concerned, it will
not only be possible to learn a great deal while living
and working in the ISS; the station can also be used as
a test environment for new technologies or improving
existing ones. There is for example the need to improve
methods for the analysis, diagnosis, maintenance and
repair of on-board systems, the further development
of regenerative life support systems, and the testing of
innovative propulsion systems.
The major space agencies in West and East are taking
the first steps to prepare for a return to the Moon.
The question arises of what role Europe will play in
these remarkable and inspiring projects. Drawing on
its universities, research institutions and industrial
capacity, Europe represented by the European Space
Agency (ESA) could make a significant contribution
to future human spaceflight.
Viewed against the background of Europe’s historical
development with its wealth of explorers, researchers
and scientists, I definitely regard space activities
with all their diverse technical, scientific and industrial
aspects as a cultural responsibility as well.
I wish all readers of this handbook a pleasurable
and rewarding experience, that pinch of intuition
which is so often necessary when crossing borders and
gaining new insights, and, not least, a very generous
portion of curiosity and enthusiasm for their space