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
Kounotori 2
Johannes Kepler
Space Shuttle

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:



2 Kommentare:

Allan Wegan hat gesagt…

Thank you for this news and the nice pictures from space. I did not knew, that ISS could dock so many "ships" at once and has become so huge already.
I hope, that the USA stop throwing all their money into weapons to conquer some oil fields and sponsor the real future instead. It is so unbelievable, that they just let the space shuttle die without having a next generation ready to take over. They got that really expensive stealth bombers and such. But when it comes to peacefull science, there is just no budget to spend...

Allan Wegan hat gesagt…

Oh! They did not drop the space shuttle idea completely: Secret Space Plane Can’t Hide From Amateur Sleuths - wired.com.
It is an unmanned ship. But maybe they plan to use it for manned missions too. Who knows...