Space stations are spacecraft that are mostly in the orbit of a celestial body and allow people to live on them for a long time. Since they themselves do not have a propulsion system for locomotion or landing equipment, they are dependent on spacecraft for transport. Room laboratories are a sub-form of space stations .
The technical challenge when operating a space station is, above all, supplying the crew. Due to the high costs of transport, systems had to be developed that allow the operation of a space station to be largely self-sufficient, i.e. H. in a closed circuit. Great progress has been made, especially in the treatment of water and air.
The orbit around the earth is not stable at a height of 300 kilometers, as a very thin earth atmosphere constantly slows down the space stations. Without regular thrust into higher orbits, space stations would therefore re-enter the earth's atmosphere after a few months or years. The gravity of other celestial bodies could also disturb the orbit of a space station. Space stations therefore need a constant supply, especially of fuel for course correction.
The space stations in detail
The first space station was the Soviet Salyut 1 in 1971 . One of the most important space stations was the Soviet Mir station , which was gradually expanded and used for almost 15 years. With the ISS , a space station is now permanently manned in international cooperation.
To date, thirteen space stations have been put into orbit, eleven of which have been manned:
in kg b)
|Salyut 1||April 19, 1971||October 11, 1971||1||24||18,500||All three crew members died on the return flight in Soyuz 11 upon re-entry.|
|Salyut 2||3rd April 1973||May 28, 1973||0||0||18,500||Loss of pressure and instrument failure caused the station to crash prematurely|
|Cosmos 557||May 11, 1973||May 22, 1973||0||0||19,400||did not reach a stable orbit|
|Skylab||May 14, 1973||July 11, 1979||3||171||77,088||so far the only purely US space station|
|Salyut 3||June 24, 1974||January 24, 1975||1||15th||18,500|
|Salyut 4||December 26, 1974||2nd February 1977||2||92||18,500|
|Salyut 5||June 22, 1976||August 8, 1977||2||67||19,000|
|Salyut 6||29th September 1977||July 29, 1982||6th||683||19,824||first refuelable space station|
|Salyut 7||April 19, 1982||February 7, 1991||5||816||18,900|
|Me||February 19, 1986||March 23, 2001||28||4594||124,340||largest Russian space station to date|
|ISS||November 20, 1998||(still in orbit)||so far 65||7471 a)||455,000||under international cooperation, four Russian modules are still missing ( Nauka , two Science Power Modules and a small coupling module )|
|Tiangong 1||September 29, 2011||April 2, 2018||2||21||8,506||first Chinese space station|
|Tiangong 2||15th September 2016||19th July 2019||1||30th||8,600|
Planned space stations
According to the plans of the Chinese space organization CNSA, a permanently manned space station is to follow as the successor to Tiangong 1 and Tiangong 2 by 2022 . NASA wants to operate the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway space station with the ISS partners from 2024 . India is planning its own space station for around 2030.
Possible future development
Future space stations could be positioned at a greater distance from the earth in one of the Lagrange points of the earth-moon system. The Lagrange points L 4 and L 5 enable the space station to have a much more stable orbit, which would significantly reduce the necessary course corrections and thus fuel consumption. However, the intensity of cosmic rays is considerably greater at a greater distance from the earth, because there is no protection from the earth's magnetosphere . For such a space station it would be necessary to take special precautions for radiation protection .
One possible concept for future space stations would be the O'Neill colonies , for example .
- List of manned missions to the Mir space station
- List of manned missions to the International Space Station
- Space travel
- Philip Baker: The Story of Manned Space Stations - An Introduction. Springer, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-0-387-30775-6 .
- Roger D. Launius: Space station - base camps to the stars. Smithonian, Washington DC 2003, ISBN 1-58834-120-8 .
- Ernst Messerschmid et al .: Space Stations - Systems and Utilization. Springer, Berlin 1999, ISBN 978-3-642-08479-9 .
- Tiangong 1 burns up in the earth's atmosphere. Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 2, 2018, accessed on April 2, 2018 .
- Chinese space station "Tiangong-2" over the South Pacific burned up in the atmosphere. July 19, 2019. Retrieved July 19, 2019 .
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- Huma Siddiqui: India to have its own space station! ISRO plans to take historic leap. In: The Hindu . June 13, 2019, accessed June 13, 2019 .