27. Februar 2011

A Busy Spaceport in Earth Orbit

This is not Science Fiction:


There is a big space station in earth orbit. It spans 2 soccer fields. It has the weight and pressurized volume of a Boeing 747.

The station has a current population of 12 people.

There are 6 (!) spacecraft docked:
  • 2 russian soyuz crew vehicles
  • 1 russian progress transporter
  • a japanese HTV transporter
  • a european ATV transporter
  • an american space shuttle

2 x Soyuz
TMA-20 & TMA-01M
Russia
Progress
M-09M
Russia
HTV-II
Kounotori 2
Japan
ATV-2
Johannes Kepler
Europe
Space Shuttle
Discovery
USA










Never again will there be so many spacecraft including a shuttle docked. This is mostly due to the shuttle's retirement. Only two more shuttles will visit the ISS. Other craft will replace the shuttle.

With the Space Shuttle retiring and no improved reusable craft following, it looks like there has not been much progress in the last 30 years. But the completed ISS with 6 craft attached and 12 people is a much larger and developed space operation, than during the single-module days of Skylab and Salyut. A different order of magnitude:

Skylab
SalyutISS






_happy_undocking()

Kommentar veröffentlichen