The space environment is complex, especially the aspects associated with the dominant influence the Sun has over the near-Earth environment—the so-called solar-terrestrial interaction. Several textbooks could be written to describe the decades of research that have been done in this area. In writing this chapter, it has been a struggle to keep it brief, and it was difficult to decide what to leave out. Thus, the chapter focuses on the highlights. However, despite this disclaimer, there is enough here to indicate the importance of environment on space vehicle design. The influence of environment in design is not so apparent in the overall spacecraft configuration, as it is for an automobile or airplane. But it can be seen that much research and engineering trial and error have been needed to develop appropriate manufacturing techniques and materials to give the spacecraft a sporting chance of surviving in orbit long enough to fulfill its mission objectives.
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