Human space exploration library

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General References

Human Space Exploration Architecture Studies

Human Space Exploration Policy and Program Strategy

NASA FY2011 Budget Request

Review of US Human Spaceflight Plans Committee (Augustine Committee) [2009]

Global Exploration Strategy (GES) Framework

  • GES Framework Document (PDF) [May 31, 2007] Non-binding strategy document of 14 space agencies, including NASA, ESA, CSA, JAXA, Roscosmos, DLR, CNES, and others; the framework represents the result of discussions between the space agencies which have been ongoing since 2006.

ESA Exploration Strategy

US Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) [2004]

US Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) [1989]

  • [1] [July 20, 1989]

US Pre-SEI Studies [1980s]

Human Lunar Exploration Architecture Studies

A list of references for human lunar exploration architecture studies is provided here.

Human Mars Exploration Architecture Studies

A list of human Mars exploration architecture studies is provided here.

Human Near-Earth-Object (NEO) Exploration Architecture Studies

Near-Earth Object, i.e. comets and asteriods that have heliocentric orbits very close to that of the Earth (in some cases crossing that of the Earth), represent interesting targets for human exploration for a number of reasons, among others: they are scientifically interesting and offer an opportunity for sample return, and a mission to a NEO has value as preparation for human Mars missions. Related to NASA's Project Constellation a number of studies have been carried out to assess opportunities for carrying out human missions to NEOs using Constellation hardware.

Human Venus Exploration Architecture Studies

A list of references for human Venus exploration architecture studies is provided here.

Ongoing Human Spaceflight Programs

NASA Multi-Program Integrated Milestones (MPIM)

NASA New Exploration Enterprise (since February 2010)

Based on the President's FY 2011 budget request for NASA and the cancellation of the Constellation program contained therein, a new exploration enterprise has been created at NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The main program elements of the new exploration enterprise are (1) a Heavy Lift & Propulsion Technology (HL&PT) program, (2) a Flagship Technology Demonstrations (FTD) program, (3) a Explorations Precursor Robotic Missions (xPRM) program, a (4) Exploration Technology Development & Demonstration (ETDD) program, a (5) Commercial Crew (CC) program, and a (6) Participatory Exploration (PE) program.

Exploration Technology Development & Demonstration (ETDD) Program

Heavy Lift & Propulsion Technology (HL&PT) Program

Flagship Technology Demonstrations (FTD) Program

Explorations Precursor Robotic Missions (xPRM) Program

Commercial Crew (CC) Program

Participatory Exploration (PE) Program

NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Programs

SpaceX COTS and CCDev Projects

Orbital Sciences Corporation COTS and CCDev Projects

Boeing CST-100 Project

SpaceDev DreamChaser Project

Under Construction...

Blue Origin New Shepard Project

Under construction...

Space Act Agreements

NASA Constellation Program

The Constellation program is supposed to be canceled based on the President's FY 2011 budget proposal for NASA. The Orion project is supposed to be transferred to the new exploration enterprise with a modified goal to develop an Orion-derived ISS lifeboat and Earth entry vehicle. Launch vehicle development efforts are supposed to be transferred to the new NASA heavy lift program.

  • NASA Lunar Lander RFI [2006]

NASA Space Shuttle Program

  • The Space Shuttle At Work, NASA-SP-432 [NASA, 1979] Description of anticipated space shuttle capabilities and mission scenarios prior to the first shuttle mission; interesting for comparing the expections for the shuttle program with what it has actually achieved.

Space Shuttle


Under construction...

Space Shuttle Accident Investigation Reports

International Space Station (ISS)

Under construction...

European Space Agency (ESA) Programs

Spacelab (no longer in service)

Columbus Laboratory

The Columbus laboratory is one of the ESA contributions to the International Space Station Program.

Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)

The ATV resupply vessel is one of the ESA contributions to the International Space Station Program.

Baseline ATV

  • ATV brochure (PDF) [2006] Provides images and description; also shows ATV evolution concept with reentry capsule for up- and down-mass logistics

ATV evolution

Mars 500 Program

Japanese Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) Programs


Under construction...

Russian Programs


Under construction...


Under construction...

Chinese Programs

Under construction...

Past Human Spaceflight Programs

Mercury Program

Gemini Program

Apollo Program

A large body of literature exists for the Apollo program, in the technical, operational, program management and historical domains. The list below is a reference selection of sources relevant for systems architecture and design purposes; it is by no means intended to be comprehensive.

Please note: human spaceflight activities in the Skylab and ASTP programs (which were based on Apollo systems) are described in detail in separate sections below.

General Apollo References

Apollo Launch Vehicles and Facilities

Apollo Spacecraft

Apollo Accident Investigation Reports

Apollo Mission Descriptions

Detailed descriptions of the individual Apollo missions (crewed and uncrewed) can be found here.

Skylab Program

Apollo-Soyuz-Test-Project (ASTP)

Soviet / Russian Space Stations