Mitchell, Jeffrey C. Spaceport Graduate Center, Florida Institute of Technology, Satellite Beach, Florida.
Gordon, Gary D. Communications Satellite Corporation, Clarksburg, Maryland.
Last reviewed:September 2018
Show previous versions
- Basic Technology
- Structure and materials
- Thermal control
- Tracking and positioning
- Attitude control
- Electrical power
- Telemetry and command
- Special-Purpose Technology
- Space probes
- Reentry vehicles
- Crewed spacecraft
- Additional Readings
The systematic application of engineering and scientific disciplines to the exploration and utilization of outer space. Space technology developed so that spacecraft and humans could function in an environment radically different from the surface of the Earth (Fig. 1). Conditions that humans take for granted on terra firma do not exist in outer space. Objects do not fall in space. There is no atmosphere to breathe, to keep people warm in the shade, to transport heat by convection, or to enable the burning of fuels. Stars do not twinkle. Liquids evaporate very quickly and are deposited on nearby surfaces. The solar wind from the Sun sends electrons that create a charge within spacecraft, leading to lightning-like discharges that may damage the vessel's electronics. Cosmic rays and solar protons damage electronic circuits and human flesh. The vast distances in space require reliable structures, electronics, mechanisms, and software to enable the craft to perform when it gets to its goal—and all of this with the design requirement that the spacecraft be the smallest and lightest it can be to cut down on launch costs, while still operating as reliably as possible. See also: Astronautical engineering; Cosmic ray; Earth; Electron; Electronics; Free fall; Gravitation; Heat convection; Heat transfer; Proton; Satellite (spacecraft); Solar wind; Space; Space station; Star; Sun
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information