Space Stations pp 419-469 | Cite as

Logistics, Communications and Operation

  • Ernst Messerschmid
  • Reinhold Bertrand


The operation of space stations and payloads requires enormous effort concerning the transportation of astronauts, equipment/goods and data from Earth to the station and vice versa. This chapter will address logistics, data processing and transmission, automation and also effective maintenance systems. The logistics and operational systems are important subsystems and largely relevant for determining the station’s orbit (altitude, inclination, attitude), the design of the station and its peripheral systems, as well as integration and ground support. They are hence relevant for system design, too. The importance of these systems becomes clear when considering the following: despite the size of the International Space Station, its operation will be ensured by only six to seven onboard astronauts. Compared to the operation of Spacelab, the time available for handling a payload element or an experiment is reduced to about 10%-20%. It is thus apparent that operations and maintenance systems play a crucial role. Fortunately at present for terrestrial and space flight applications, data and communication systems (e.g. mobile radio communication and multimedia broadband networks), automation and robotic systems, as well as competing space transportation systems develop extremely fast. As a consequence, it is sometimes very difficult to quickly integrate the spin-on advantages resulting from this development into the plans for a space station and to make use of them.


Space Station International Space Station Space Flight Space Shuttle Launch Vehicle 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Messerschmid
    • 1
  • Reinhold Bertrand
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für RaumfahrtsystemeUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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