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Artykuły o tematyce astronautycznej => Artykuły astronautyczne => Wątek zaczęty przez: Orionid w Lipiec 13, 2019, 14:39

Tytuł: [ESA] Europe's involvement Spacelab
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 13, 2019, 14:39
Europe's involvement Spacelab

Cut-out view of Spacelab in orbit. ESA developed Spacelab as a manned scientific laboratory to fly in the Space Shuttle's cargo bay.

Europe’s involvement in Space Shuttle activities dates back to 1969, when NASA invited ESRO, ESA’s predecessor organisation, to participate in its Post-Apollo Programme.

NASA had reached the Moon, with Apollo proving that the boldest goals could be achieved. However, to conduct post-Apollo programmes within reasonable budget limits, a new vehicle was needed to carry astronauts and cargo into space, without throwing away hundreds of million dollars per flight. This was the rationale to develop the first reusable launch system in 1972: the Space Transportation System (STS) – otherwise known as the ‘Space Shuttle’.

Europe, then represented by ELDO (European Launcher Development Organisation) and ESRO (European Space Research Organisation), the precursors of today’s ESA, was invited to take part in early studies in 1969. ELDO developed a concept for a reusable space tug to ferry cargo from low to geostationary orbits and beyond, but NASA eventually turned to US expendable ‘kick stages’ for this role.

Heading towards human spaceflight

Signature of the Spacelab Memorandum of Understanding between ESRO and NASA at the State Department, Washington DC, USA, on 24 September 1973. The Memorandum was signed by Alexander Hocker for ESRO and James Fletcher (NASA Administrator). Also present are Charles Hanin, chairman of ESC, Professor M. Levy, Chairman of ESRO Council and Roy Gibson.

ESRO focused its efforts on a ‘Sortie Module’ to be flown in the Shuttle’s cargo bay. The laboratory’s original ‘freeflying’ mode was later abandoned, and so it became ‘Spacelab’. In December 1972, Europe opted to develop 'Spacelab' as an integral element of the US Space Transportation System in which scientific missions of up to nine days could be conducted. The Spacelab programme was approved in July 1973, during the European Space Conference in Brussels.

At this important meeting, European ministers agreed on the Ariane programme and the inception of the European Space Agency (ESA). The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Europe and NASA for the implementation of Spacelab took place on 24 September 1973. Europe was heading towards human spaceflight.

Unlike Skylab, the first US space station, which had been built mostly from existing Apollo hardware, Spacelab was a new construction offering a much wider range of applications.

Building Spacelab

Preparing Spacelab 1 at the Kennedy Space Center for its flight aboard Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-9) in November 1983. ESA developed Spacelab as a manned scientific laboratory to fly on NASA's Space Shuttle. Ulf Merbold, who was part of the Spacelab 1 crew, became the first ESA astronaut in space.

In June 1974, ESA selected an industrial consortium led by MBB-Erno (now EADS Astrium) to develop the modular elements making up Spacelab: a pressurised laboratory, a gimballed instrument pointing system and cargo bay pallets.

At that time, the Shuttle was planned to fly up to once a week and about a hundred Spacelab missions were anticipated through the 1990s. This number significantly decreased as the Shuttle began flying. Spacelab pallets were flown as early as the second Shuttle mission, in November 1981. The first ESA-sponsored mission, Spacelab-1, followed two years later.

Spacelab-1 on orbit, the European purpose-built laboratory is shown inside the cargo bay of Space Shuttle Columbia. The Spacelab-1 mission was launched on 28 November 1983 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. On board was German astronaut Ulf Merbold, the first ESA astronaut in space.

Under a barter agreement, a first set of Spacelab modules was handed over to NASA, which also bought a second set later. In total, 22 Spacelab missions were flown by the time the programme ended in 1998, representing some 244 days on orbit. Most included a significant ESA science/payload contribution and two dedicated missions were sponsored by the German Aerospace Center, DLR.

The Spacelab laboratory module was even flown in 1995 on a milestone international mission: the first Shuttle docking with Russia’s Mir space station.

Source: https://m.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Space_Shuttle/Europe_s_involvement_Spacelab
Tytuł: Odp: [ESA] Europe's involvement Spacelab
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 13, 2019, 14:43
From Spacelab to Columbus

With the blackness of space and the Earth's horizon as a backdrop, NASA astronaut Ron Garan completes the third spacewalk of the STS-124 mission in June 2008. ESA's Columbus laboratory is seen in the foreground of the picture.

As a key partner to NASA, ESA was invited in 1984 to participate in another major venture: the Freedom space station. ESA’s contribution was the Columbus laboratory module, approved by ESA’s Ministerial Council in The Hague in November 1987.

The loss of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to a series of restructurings of the Freedom programme, which turned into the more ambitious International Space Station (ISS), jointly assembled and operated by the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

A cutaway view of Columbus, the European laboratory module of the International Space Station.

Once the design phase was completed, the full development of the Columbus laboratory was approved by ESA’s Ministerial Council in October 1995 in Toulouse and an industrial contract was awarded in March 1996 to an industrial consortium led by DASA (now Astrium).

Delays in the orbital assembly of the Station and the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 significantly postponed the launch of the Columbus laboratory. It was eventually attached to the ISS in February 2008, opening a new era for European human spaceflight with a permanent research laboratory in space.

Source: http://m.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2001/11/Cutaway_view_of_Columbus_laboratory
Tytuł: Odp: [ESA] Europe's involvement Spacelab
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 13, 2019, 14:43
Birth of an international spirit

Working inside Spacelab on STS-9 in 1983, astronauts Bob Parker, Byron Lictenberg, Owen Garriott and Ulf Merbold.
Ulf Merbold’s flight on STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA partnership that included dozens of flights of ESA astronauts in the following years.

Spacelab turned out to be one of the most important and most frequently flown Shuttle payload systems to date, with some missions funded and operated by other countries, such as Germany and Japan. When Spacelab flights stopped in 1998, full Spacelab modules had flown 16 times and Spacelab pallet-only missions had flown six times.

With their NASA crewmates, nine Europeans had worked inside Spacelab while in space.

Training for Spacelab

ESA's first three astronauts were selected in 1978. From left to right, Claude Nicollier (CH), Wubbo Ockels (NL) and Ulf Merbold (DE).
Ulf Merbold was the first to fly in 1983 with STS-9 and Wubbo Ockels flew two years later on STS-61A. Claude Nicollier, who had to wait 14 years to experience his first flight with STS-46 in 1992.

Merbold had been selected in 1978, along with Wubbo Ockels and Claude Nicollier, to train as payload specialists for the first Spacelab flights, but as he recalls, it wasn’t always easy.

“Being the first non-American in the US space programme was really something special. When we started training for Spacelab 1 in Huntsville, we received a warm welcome. During our two years in training, people were really eager and happy to see us. They made sure everything was more than perfect,” says Merbold.

Astronauts Owen Garriott and Ulf Merbold brief Vice President George Bush inside Spacelab at the Operations and Checkout Building, Kennedy Space Center, in 1982.

“But in Houston you could feel that not everyone was happy that Europe was involved. Some also resented the new concept of the payload specialist ‘astronaut scientist’, who was not under their control like the pilots. We were perceived to be intruders in an area that was reserved for ‘real’ astronauts.

"A couple of small things made us realise that Johnson Space Center management was suspicious. Now, of course, all this has changed. I think we broke the ice and all our colleagues who came after us had much easier lives.”

Mission specialists

During the second spacewalk of Servicing Mission 3A, ESA astronaut Claude Nicollier is installing the Fine Guidance Sensor on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA astronaut Michael Foale, left, is assisting.

Merbold flew on the Spacelab-1 mission as a ‘Payload Specialist’, more like a passenger than a full member of the crew, as was Ockels on Spacelab-D1 two years later.

However, in 1980, under an agreement with ESA, NASA had accepted the inclusion of Nicollier into its own astronaut training class, where he graduated as a ‘Mission Specialist’, meaning a fully fledged member of the crew. His competence later led him to participate in four Shuttle missions, including some of the most ambitious flights ever made: the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Prof. Ulrich Walter flew on STS-55 in 1993 on the Spacelab D2 mission for German space agency DLR.

German astronaut Ulrich Walter, who flew on Spacelab D2 in 1993, recalls Shuttle training only a few years after Merbold, “I remember it was very hard (we trained for five years including the basic training), but nevertheless it was worthwhile and I would do it again immediately! Yes, I would go again, and not only on a research mission but also any mission to the ISS or wherever.”

International partners

ESA astronaut André Kuipers during EVA training in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Facility in Houston.

“I always appreciated the very good cooperation with the ground teams because they gave everything in order to have their ‘baby’ fly in good shape. The ground teams are always highly motivated people and it was really fun working with them,” remembers Walter.

Today’s astronauts have to train to work on the ISS, which involves modules and systems from each of five partner agencies from USA, Russia, Canada, Japan and ESA.

You are now more likely to find American astronauts training in Moscow, European astronauts training in Tsukuba, Japan, or Russian cosmonauts at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Source: https://m.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Space_Shuttle/Birth_of_an_international_spirit
Tytuł: Odp: [ESA] Europe's involvement Spacelab
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 13, 2019, 14:43
A veritable work horse

Ground crews begin towing Space Shuttle Atlantis after landing at Edwards Air Force Base on 24 May 2099, concluding the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space telescope.

For all its shortcomings, the Shuttle is still one of the most complex and yet capable space vehicles ever built. It remains the only vehicle in the world with the dual capability to deliver and return large payloads to and from orbit.

"The design, now more than three decades old, is still state-of-the-art in many respects: computerised flight controls, airframe design, electrical power systems, thermal protection system and main engines," says Roger Launius, former Chief Historian for NASA, now Senior Curator at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

"At the same time, it is extremely expensive to fly and has been unable to deliver its original promise of routine access to space."

Michel Tognini, Head of the European Astronaut Centre and Mission Specialist on STS-93, said, “The Space Shuttle is a wonderful ‘bird’, a remarkable flying machine with a diversity of uses. Soyuz is limited in the orbit inclinations it can fly, but the Shuttle could fly to any inclination needed, to deliver any type of payload and to do any type of repair, to grab satellites, for example the Hubble Space Telescope. It was a special vehicle capable of doing so many different things.”

Telescope repair missions

During the second spacewalk of Servicing Mission 3A, ESA astronaut Claude Nicollier is installing the Fine Guidance Sensor on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA astronaut Michael Foale, left, is assisting.

Gerhard Thiele, Mission Specialist on STS-99, said: “I think the missions that stand out the most to me, as a physicist, are those to the Hubble Space Telescope. That doesn’t diminish the other missions, such as life sciences missions, or Earth observation missions such as the one that I had the privilege to fly on, but when people look back in many years I think the contributions to Hubble or Chandra will stand out.”

French astronaut Jean-François Clervoy has flown three times on the Shuttle. His third mission, STS-103, was to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

“On this flight we were carrying responsibility for the careers of hundreds of scientists whose entire working lives were devoted to analysing the data transmitted by this telescope, still unequalled for the quality of its visible light images of distant parts of the Universe. The discoveries from Hubble are seen as significant today as were the observations of Galileo in their day,” explained Clervoy.

A view of the Hubble Space Telescope from on board Space Shuttle Discovery during STS-82. The six-member crew completed servicing and upgrading of Hubble during four planned extravehicular activities (EVAs) and then performed a fifth unscheduled space walk to repair insulation on the telescope, 11-21 February 1997

“On our return, the Space Telescope Science Institute, which manages the use of the HST, presented us with the spectacular results of our rescue mission, making us feel that we had performed a really significant service to science. I shall be proud to tell my grandchildren, ‘I was there’, hoping to inspire in them a taste for adventure,” said Clervoy.

Mir and other impressive missions

This is one of a series of 800 mm survey digital still photographs of the Space Shuttle Discovery taken during its full 360-degree 'backflip'. The series of photos were made by the Expedition 20 crew on the International Space Station as the two spacecraft drew near to each other on STS-128's third flight day. This view shows almost the entire 'top' portion of Discovery, including the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (Leonardo) in the cargo bay.

Looking back at the achievements of the Space Shuttle, there are so many that it is very hard to select just a few highlights. The construction flights to the ISS and the Hubble Servicing Missions have captured the public imagination, but there have been other less well-known but equally impressive missions.

For example, Jean-François Clervoy’s first mission, STS-66, studied the atmosphere and the Sun, with the results giving a better understanding of ozone depletion and atmospheric warming.

“During my work shift, I flew each day over the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the whole of Asia, in beautiful sunny conditions without any cloud interference. I brought back more than 8000 photographs, with the most wonderful views of Earth from space: the Great Barrier Reef, Kamchatka, New York, the Caribbean, the Alps, the Nile and the pyramids, Mount Everest and many other views that will stay in my memory for ever,” said Clervoy.

But his next mission, STS-84, was even more dramatic: carrying vital supplies to the aging Russian Mir space station.

The Shuttle took experiments and food for an American member of their crew, who was to spend four months in Mir, and then had to return to Earth with a crewmember who had finished his tour of duty.

Space Shuttle docked with Mir

“We had forged close links with the Mir crew during joint training in Russia, and felt responsible for their safety,” said Clervoy.

“The success of their mission depended on our arrival. We brought, among other equipment, a generator that produced oxygen from urine, so economising on the few remaining chemical cartridges that they had on board. We knew how they felt after already three months of isolation.

"Opening the hatchway after our two craft had docked was a truly emotional experience, as were the international meals that we enjoyed together on Mir and the moment when we separated from them again,” remembers Clervoy.

Source: https://m.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Space_Shuttle/A_veritable_work_horse
Tytuł: Odp: [ESA] Europe's involvement Spacelab
Wiadomość wysłana przez: Orionid w Lipiec 13, 2019, 14:43
After the Shuttle

Space Shuttle Endeavour approaches the ISS on 10 February 2010 on its mission to install its primary payloads, the Tranquility Node-3 module and Cupola, the European-built observatory module.

ESA astronaut Michel Tognini looks to the future, “Now that the Shuttle is ending, we have to think differently. Time has moved on, we can’t stay all our lives in low Earth orbit and we have to go further."

"Looking at the future exploration of the Moon and Mars, we won’t go there with Space Shuttles, but with capsules. However, reentry from space as a plane is still something magnificent which has to be studied, and the Space Shuttle gave us valuable ‘lessons learned’ on every flight.

Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, completing a 16-day STS-134 mission to the International Space Station. The crew of the Shuttle included ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori.

"I’m sure people would have loved to fly on the Shuttle, but maybe they will have the chance on a new Space Shuttle built with new technology, materials and computers, which might be ready within ten years.”

The last word should go to the last ESA astronaut and non-US citizen to fly on the Space Shuttle, Roberto Vittori. Flying on STS-134, the penultimate flight, he views the end of the Shuttle programme in a different way and agrees with Tognini about the possibilities for new winged vehicles.

“I’ve flown in space twice before on Soyuz, but its my first flight on the Shuttle, so that’s the way I look at it. I know Endeavour is scheduled for its last flight, and it seems strange to me because when you see the spacecraft close up, it looks brand new. I know it’s over 20 years old, but it seems still in perfect shape,” said Vittori.

Europe’s ambition for a spacecraft to return autonomously from low orbit is a cornerstone for a wide range of space applications, including space transportation, exploration and robotic servicing of space infrastructure.

Part of this goal will be achieved with IXV Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, planned for launch in 2014. Launched into a suborbital trajectory on ESA’s Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, IXV will return to Earth as if from a low-orbit mission, to test and qualify new European critical reentry technologies such as advanced ceramic and ablative thermal protection.

The 2 t lifting body will attain an altitude of around 450 km, allowing it to reach a velocity of 7.5 km/s on reentering the atmosphere. It will collect a large amount of data during its hypersonic and supersonic flight, while it is being controlled by thrusters and aerodynamic flaps.

The craft will then descend by parachute and land in the Pacific Ocean to await recovery and analysis.

“The Shuttles are just the first examples of future hypersonic machines so, although we expected to retire them, the question is not ‘if’, but ‘when’ there will be a new vehicle similar to the Shuttle. From a pilot’s standpoint, one of the most interesting areas for me is hypersonic flight and the Shuttle is the only vehicle capable of flying in this region.

"So I don’t think of the ‘last Shuttle flight’, I see the Shuttle as a prototype of transport for future generations. As a test pilot, it will be very exciting to be part of expanding this hypersonic experience.”

Source: https://m.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Space_Shuttle/After_the_Shuttle