For many years several German organizations, e.g., Intospace GmbH, Kayser-Threds GmbH, DASA, OHB-System GmbH, and DLR's Microgravity User Support Center, have been involved in numerous European microgravity experiments on such foreign orbital plafforms as EURECA, FSW-1, Mir, Photon, Resurs-F, and Spacelab. The German mission to the Mirspace station in 1992, the 1993 flight of Spacelab D2 on STS-55, and participation in IML-2 in 1994 on STS-65 represent the latest man-tended materials research efforts undertaken. Spacelab D2, in particular, hosted six furnaces, including the Material Sciences Experiment Double-rack for Experiment Modules and Apparatus (MEDEA) and the Material Sciences Laboratory. On IML-2 DARA sponsored the Quasi-Steady Acceleration Measurement experiment to monitor microgravity levels for various types of studies (References 749, 764-765).
In late 1992 the German national space agency agreed to develop with Japan and the Russian Federation a small, recoverable capsule for short-duration, low-altitude orbital missions. Named EXPRESS (Experimental Reentry Space System), the 765-kg spacecraft (including an initial payload of nearly 130 kg) was to be launched by the last Japanese M-3SII booster from Kagoshima in the Summer of 1994. However, program difficulties prevented the mission from meeting the narrow Japanese launch window, and the flight was delayed until early 1995. Based in part on a Russian re-entry vehicle, the EXPRESS spacecraft consists of two basic components: a 400-kg recovery capsule and a 365-kg service module. The maximum flight time is one week with a re-entry g-load of up to 10 g's. The spacecraft has an overall length of 2 m and a maximum diameter of 1.4 m. If the first flight, which carried two German electric furnaces, was successful, plans called for additional missions by a to-be-determined small launch vehicle (References 766-774).
749. Experiments in Space. The Second German Spacelab Mission D-2, DLR, March 1992.
764. R. Schuiling, "Columbia Reaches '100th Day in Space': Shuttle Program Clocks Up 'One Year in Space'", Spaceflight, July 1993, pp. 232-236.
765. M.H. Keller and P.R. Sahm, "The German Spacelab Mission D2: A Scientific Technological Challenge", Earth Space Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1994, pp. 11-21.
766. "Japan and Germany Plan Launch", Aviation Week and Space Technology, 18 January 1993, p.13.
767. EXPRESS Space Vehicle, technical specification sheet distributed by Khrunichev State Space Researchand Production Center, undated.
768. J.M. Lenorovitz, "Russian Capsule Role Complicates Joint Flights, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 16 August 1993, p.71.
769. "Australia, Germany Form Space Ties; Woomera Range Activated", Space FAX Daily, 22 October 1993, p. 1.
770. C. Covault, "Space Programs Surge in Asia/Pacific Region", Aviation Week and Space Technology, 21 February 1994, pp. 73-75.
771. P.B. de Selding, "Express Misses Japan's Summer Launch Windows", Space News, 19-25 September 1994, p. 4.
772. C. Covault, "German-Russian Projects Advance", Aviation Week and Space Technology, 14 November 1994, p. 24.
773. INTERFAX News Agency, 24 November 1994.
774. P.B. de Selding, "Australia Clears Russian - German Express for Landings, Space News, 9-15 January 1995, p.18.