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Space Transport and Engineering Method

Space Transport and Engineering Method

Space Transport and Engineering Method

Score: 8.25 | 8 votes
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Book Details:

Pages:286 pages
Size:4.58 MB


As a photo of the Earth from a distance shows, our planet is located in space. So space is not a different place to go to: we are already there. We think of it as different because most of us spend most of our lives on about 1/8th of the solid-gas interface of one planet among the billions in the Galaxy. It is where we evolved, and where conditions are reasonably habitable for us, so we think of it as normal. In reality, our comfortable planet is the exception, and normal is unusable environments hostile to life as we know it. We can change that by technical means, and are starting to do so first by placing devices in space, then by creating habitable environments.

As of 2014 global space industry had already reached US$ 323 billion/year of economic activity. This is expected to greatly increase in the future as our civilization learns to use this environment and expand into it. For these and other reasons space systems engineering is a worthy field of study within the larger context of all sciences and engineering. Historically the main engineering challenges were transportation that could reach space at all, and the design of relatively small satellites with finite lives as cargo for such transportation. These topics are adequately covered by existing textbooks such as Sutton’s Rocket Propulsion Elements and Griffen and French’s Space Vehicle Design.

Starting with more recent projects, like the International Space Station (ISS), new design characteristics have become more important. These include permanent habitation, evolution and growth, sustainability, and industrial capacity. Future projects will require new types of propulsion, life support, production, and assembly. Single projects can no longer be considered in isolation, either. For example, the ISS depends on multiple launch vehicles to deliver crew, supplies, and hardware for expansion. This book is intended as an introduction to both the historical design challenges of transport and space hardware design, and the new engineering methods needed for future projects. The online format is also intended to address some of the limitations of traditional printed textbooks:

  • Their high cost in recent years, which is addressed by making this an open-source Wikibook.
  • The inability to include other media types, such as audio, video, simulations, and software.
  • The relative difficulty of updating printed books in a fast moving field.
  • The very large amount of information in this field, which is addressed by links and a supplementary library.
  • The lack of practice projects. Learning well involves more than just reading, it should include hands-on work. The latter part of the book includes real projects which interested readers or teams can work on.



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