friendster7
friendster7
Branch Unspecified
06 Apr 2008

How Space Stations Work?

Imagine waking up in the morning, looking out your window and seeing this view. Breathtaking, isn't it? What would it be like to live in space? Is it only science fiction, or will it be a real possibility in the near future?

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Photo courtesy NASA
View of the Florida peninsula from space


For years, and for various reasons, people (scientists, [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]astronauts[/FONT][/FONT], science fiction writers, the general public) have dreamed of having a permanent space station in orbit around Earth. For some, space stations are a place to do cutting edge scientific research in an environment that can not be matched on Earth. For others, space stations are a place for business, where unique materials [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]crystals[/FONT][/FONT], semiconductors, pharmaceuticals) can be manufactured in better forms than on Earth. Still others dream of space stations as staging points for expeditions to the planets and stars, as tourist attractions, or even as new cities and colonies that could relieve an overpopulated planet. Whatever the dream, space stations are not that far off. The United States and Russia have had orbiting space stations since 1971 and are now cooperating with other nations to build the [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]International [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]Space [/FONT][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]Station[/FONT][/FONT], a place that will maintain a permanent human presence in space.

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Photo courtesy NASA



What will the space station look like? What will it be like to live and work in space? What problems are involved in establishing a space station? What will it be used for? In this article, we will examine the fascinating world of space stations.

A Little History
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From the early days of science fiction and [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]space [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]exploration[/FONT][/FONT], we have dreamed of space stations. Visionaries have proposed space stations as outposts in orbit, much like the forts and outposts of the U.S. western frontier of the 18th and 19th centuries. The outposts in space would be places for people to conduct business, do science and travel to the planets and stars. Typically, these stations have been envisioned as large rotating [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]wheels[/FONT][/FONT] that have gravity, like those seen in films such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" or in television shows like "Star Trek Deep Space 9" or "Babylon 5." But the space stations of today bear little resemblance to those of science fiction.
friendster7

friendster7

Branch Unspecified
10 years ago
Salyut
The Russians (then the Soviet Union) were the first to place a space station, called Salyut 1, in orbit in 1971. The Salyut 1 station was a combination of the Almaz and Soyuz spacecraft systems. It was about 45 feet (15 meters) long and held three main compartments that housed dining and [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]recreation[/FONT][/FONT] areas, food and water storage, a toilet, control stations, exercise equipment and scientific equipment. The Soyuz 11 crew was the first crew to live on Salyut 1 for 24 days; but tragically, they died upon returning to Earth. Further missions to Salyut 1 were canceled, and the Soyuz spacecraft was redesigned.

During the 1970s, the Russians launched several other Salyut space stations (Salyuts 4-7) where they tested the new Soyuz spacecraft, developed and tested unmanned docking supply ships called Progress ships, conducted scientific [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]experiment[/FONT][/FONT] an
d logged some of the longest space flights at that time. The Salyut program eventually led to the development of Russia's Mir space station.

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Photo courtesy NASA
Diagram of the Salyut-4 space station docked to a Soyuz spacecraft.
friendster7

friendster7

Branch Unspecified
10 years ago
Skylab
The United States placed its first, and only, space station, called Skylab 1, in orbit in 1973. During the launch, the station was damaged. A critical meteoroid shield and one of the station's two main solar panels were ripped off and the other solar panel was not fully stretched out. That meant that Skylab had little electrical power and the internal temperature rose to 126 degrees [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]Fahrenheit[/FONT][/FONT] (52 degrees Celsius). The first crew was launched 10 days later to fix the ailing station. The astronauts stretched out the remaining solar panel and set up an umbrella-like sunshade to cool the station. With the station repaired, that crew and two subsequent crews spent a total of 112 days in space, conducting scientific and biomedical research.

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Photo courtesy NASA
Diagram of the Skylab 1 orbiting workshop.

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Photo courtesy NASA
Photograph of Skylab 1 in orbit after its repairs. Note the [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]gold [/FONT][/FONT]sunshade.

Skylab was modified from the third stage of a Saturn V moon rocket. Skylab had the following parts:

* Orbital Workshop - living and working quarters for the crew
* Airlock Module - allowed access to the outside of the station
* Multiple Docking Adapter - allowed more than one Apollo spacecraft to dock to the station at once
* [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]Apollo[/FONT][/FONT] Telescope Mount - contained telescopes for observing the sun, stars and Earth (remember that the Hubble Space Telescope had not been built yet!)
* Apollo spacecraft - command and service module for transporting the crew to and from the Earth's surface

Skylab was never meant to be a permanent home in space, but rather a workshop where the United States could test the effects of long-duration space flights (that is, greater than the two weeks required to go to the moon) on the human body. When the flight of the third crew was finished, Skylab was abandoned. Skylab remained aloft until intense solar flare activity caused its orbit to decay sooner than expected. Skylab re-entered the [FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]Earth's [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif][FONT=Verdana,Tahoma,Arial,Trebuchet MS,Sans-Serif,Georgia,Courier,Times New Roman,Serif]atmosphere[/FONT][/FONT] and b
urned over Australia in 1979.
Ashraf HZ

Ashraf HZ

Communications
10 years ago
When it comes to designing spacecraft, I've often favoured the Soviet/Russian engineers for their good and cost effective designs. I wonder what else they can come up with if Russia has a larger space budget!
gohm

gohm

Branch Unspecified
10 years ago
ash
When it comes to designing spacecraft, I've often favoured the Soviet/Russian engineers for their good and cost effective designs. I wonder what else they can come up with if Russia has a larger space budget!
Maybe a return visit to the moon? How great would that be! I never understood why nasa lost that focus. Maybe all those conspiracy theorists have something... laugh!😀

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