The main elements characterizing cutting-edge research and tech- nology in future human spaceflight and space exploration will certainly be related to the development of new access-to-space and atmospheric reentry systems. The termination of the Space Shuttle program corresponds indeed to a radical change of the scenario for human space flight activities. Along with the Russian Soyuz and the Chinese Shenzhou reentry cap- sules, the Shuttle was the only available human-rated vehicle able to provide human access to Space. Continuous utilisation of the Interna- tional Space Station and new exploration programmes will require new space vehicles for access-to and reentry from space.
Last date updated on July, 2014