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ESA’s Materials Science in Space Programme

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Metallurgy in Space

Part of the book series: The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series ((MMMS))

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Over the past decades, the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed and employed a suite of reduced-gravity platforms that enables the scientific communities to conduct space-relevant investigations for the physical as well as for the life sciences. These platforms include drop towers, parabolic flights, sounding rockets and the International Space Station (ISS), each with their particular features and hence application areas. This chapter gives an overview of ESA’s materials science in space programme, with an emphasis on ISS research in general and on electro-magnetic levitation in particular. Results of these investigations provide for unique benchmark data for the testing and validation of fundamental theories and for modelling and simulation of solidification processes. This is to eventually lead to better predicting capabilities as to the formation of microstructures and defects in castings, the microstructural control for designed mechanical and physical properties of the (semi)-finished products and so on.

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Space research is a long-standing effort of many actors, all of which are recognised for their indispensable contributions: numerous teams at ESA and other space agencies, user support and operations centres and industry. In addition, the ESA member states participating in SciSpacE and the national space agencies are acknowledged for their support. And naturally, without a committed scientific community, there would be no reduced-gravity research programme. The quoted publication list in the section on EML activities was initiated by I. Silkina (ESA), and the section on the benefits for Earth and industrial relevance was iterated with M. Mohr (Ulm University).

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Correspondence to Wim Sillekens .

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Sillekens, W. (2022). ESA’s Materials Science in Space Programme. In: Fecht, HJ., Mohr, M. (eds) Metallurgy in Space . The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series. Springer, Cham.

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