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Handbook of Space Technology

Wilfried Ley (Editor), Klaus Wittmann (Editor), Willi Hallmann (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-74243-3

Feb 2011

908 pages


Twenty years since the first edition was published in the German language, and just over fifty years since the launch of the Earth’s first ever artificial satellite Sputnik 1, this third edition of the Handbook of Space Technology presents in fully integrated colour a detailed insight into the fascinating world of space for the first time in the English language.

Authored by over 70 leading experts from universities, research institutions and the space industry, this comprehensive handbook describes the processes and methodologies behind the development, construction, operation and utilization of space systems, presenting the profound changes that have occurred in recent years in the engineering, materials, processes and even politics associated with space technologies and utilization. The individual chapters are self-contained, enabling the reader to gain a quick and reliable overview of a selected field; an extensive reference and keyword list helps those who wish to deepen their understanding of individual topics. 

Featuring superb, full colour illustrations and photography throughout, this interdisciplinary reference contains practical, hands-on engineering and planning information that will be invaluable to those on a career path within space technology, or simply for those of us who’d like to know more about this fascinating industry. 

Main section headings include:

  • Introduction (historical overview, space missions)
  • Fundamentals (orbital mechanics, aerothermodynamics/ reentry, space debris)
  • Launch Vehicles (staged technologies, propulsion systems, launch infrastructure)
  • Space Vehicle Subsystems (structure, energy supply, thermal controls, attitude control, communication)
  • Aspects of Human Flight (man in space, life support systems, rendezvous and docking)
  • Mission Operations (satellite operation, control center, ground station network)
  • Utilization of Space (Earth observation, communication navigation, space astronomy, material sciences, space medicine, robotics)
  • Configuration and Design of a Space Vehicle (mission concept, system concept, environmental simulation, system design, Galileo satellites)
  • Management of Space Missions (project management, quality management, cost management, space law)


The Editors.

The Authors.

1 Introduction.


1.1 Historical Overview.

1.2 Space Missions.

2 Fundamentals.

2.1 The Space Environment.

2.2 Orbital Mechanics.

2.3 Aerothermodynamics and Reentry.

2.4 Meteoroids and Space Debris.


3 Space Transportation Systems.

3.1 Systems.

3.2 Multistage Rocket Technologies.

3.3 Propulsion Systems.

3.4 Launch Infrastructure.

3.5 System Qualification.

 4 Subsystems of Spacecraft.

4.1 Structure and Mechanisms.

4.2 Electrical Power Supply.

4.3 Thermal Control.

4.4 Satellite Propulsion.

4.5 Attitude Control.

4.6 Data Management.

4.7 Communication.

5 Aspects of Human Space Flight.

5.1 Humans in Space.

5.2 Life Support Systems.

5.3 Rendezvous and Docking.

 6 Mission Operations.

6.1 Spacecraft Operations.

6.2 Control Center.

6.3 The Network of Ground Stations.

6.4 Operations for Human Space Flight.

7 Utilization of Space.

7.1 Earth Observation.

7.2 Communications.

7.3 Navigation.

7.4 Space Astronomy and Planetary Missions.

7.5 Materials Science.

7.6 Space Medicine and Biology.

7.7 New Technologies and Robotics.

 8 Spacecraft Design Process.

8.1 Mission Concept and Architecture.

8.2 Systems Design and Integration.

8.3 Environmental Tests and Basic Concepts.

8.4 System Design Example: CubeSat.

8.5 Exemplary System Design of a Microsatellite Mission.

8.6 Galileo Satellites.

9 Management of Space Projects.

9.1 Management of Space Projects.

9.2 Quality Management.

9.3 Cost Management.

9.4 Legal Aspects of Space Activities.

Acronyms and Abbreviations.

Symbol List.