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Filling the Space

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • 13AERD0603_01
Published June 03, 2013 by SAE International in United States
  • English

A look at the changing face of manned spaceflight and the commercialization of orbital access.

Persuading politicians to fund big-scale space projects is more difficult today than ever, as witnessed by the scores of advanced spaceplane and expendable launcher projects that have fallen by the wayside over the last 30 years.

But access to space is still vital as satellites keep the global economy moving and enable seamless real-time financial trading and communication at a level of reliability and accuracy that was unthinkable three decades ago, and plenty of nations still want to do it. Apart from the established major space players in the U.S., Europe, and Russia, China, Japan, and India also have ambitious national space programs.