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ISS News

August 2, 2000

Astronauts inspect station's 'backbone'
By Kelly Young
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - A key U.S.-built piece of the International Space 
Station is ready to head for space in October after being inspected by some 
of the shuttle Discovery crew that is to deliver it. 

"Hopefully, we'll light up the night sky for all of you," Discovery's 
commander Brian Duffy said Monday before looking closely at the part. 

Duffy and the Discovery crew are scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space 
Center shortly before 10 p.m. Oct. 5 for a 10-day mission to the station. 

As for the 19,300-pound U.S.-built Z-1 truss that got the astronauts' OK on 
Monday, it will be part of a so-called backbone that initially will provide a 
range of power and heating capabilities for the station. 

The Z-1 was turned over to NASA by its builder, The Boeing Co., during a 
ceremony Monday at KSC. Boeing is the main contractor on the station. 

The Discovery mission carrying the Z-1, and other payloads, is one of three 
to be flown from KSC through the rest of the year, and one of 35 during the 
next few years as the station takes shape in space. 

Until heading for the shuttle-launch pad in late August in preparation for 
the October Discovery flight, the Z-1 is being kept with several other pieces 
in the Space Station Processing Facility at KSC. 

Altogether, there are about 250,000 pounds of station parts waiting at KSC 
for a ride to space. 

Traditionally astronauts check out anything they will be carrying to space in 
the shuttle's cargo bay, KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham said Tuesday. "It's 
an opportunity where they (an astronaut crew) can talk with the contractors 
who actually built it." 

In addition to Duffy, the Discovery crew includes pilot Pamela Melroy and 
mission specialists Koichi Wakata, Leroy Chiao, Peter "Jeff" Wisoff, Michael 
Lopez-Alegria and William McArthur. 

Wakata is from Japan; the others are from the United States. 

Built by the United States, Russia and 14 other nations, the station will be 
the site of varied on-orbit space research. 

It is expected to be completed between 2005 and 2007. 

Construction on the station has been delayed during the last two years 
because of setbacks getting Russia's Zvezda Service Module into space. 

But now that Zvezda is in space, work on the station is beginning in earnest. 
Zvezda will provide living quarters, along with power that will keep the 
station in a safe orbit about 240 miles above Earth. 

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