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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Kyle Herring
Headquarters, Washington                        Dec. 5, 2002


     The final pieces of what will become the longest 
structure in space, the International Space Station's 
football-field-long backbone, are being shipped to Florida 
next week.

The 11th and final piece of the Station's Integrated Truss 
Structure (designated Starboard 6 (S6) truss segment) leaves 
Houston for the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), on Monday, Dec. 
9, weather permitting. S6 will be shipped in two segments. 
The first shipment will be the Integrated Equipment Assembly 
(IEA), and the second shipment the truss Long Spacer.

The two pieces are too large to be shipped together, but they 
will be joined together prior to launch. The S6 shipments 
mean virtually all the U.S. core structure of the Station has 
left the factory and is either in orbit or being readied for 
launch. Only one major Station core component awaits 
shipment. The second connecting module, Node 2, is completing 
construction in Italy.

When launched in early 2004, the S6 truss will weigh 26,000 
pounds and measure 45 feet long. Its assembly in orbit will 
complete a 356-foot-long span across the Space Station. The 
span will support a half-acre of solar arrays, massive 
station cooling systems and a railway to allow a robotic arm 
to relocate for Station maintenance.

"The shipment of this segment signals that the fabrication of 
all U.S.-built International Space Station core components 
has been completed," said ISS Program Manager Bill 
Gerstenmaier. "But the most complex and challenging work is 
ahead as we continue to assemble the truss segments in orbit, 
multiplying and expanding the Station's power system. When 
this final truss segment is attached in 2004, we will be in 
the home stretch of Station assembly," he said.

The S6 will include the fourth and final set of Station solar 
arrays, batteries and electronics. The truss IEA and Long 
Spacer have been in Houston for about a year undergoing final 
construction. The segment began as a qualification article 
for other truss segments before being renovated to flight 
status. It will spend a little over a year in KSC's Space 
Station Processing Facility being readied for launch. 

While at KSC, the truss IEA and Long Spacer will be 
inspected. Orbital Replacement Units will be installed to the 
IEA and undergo verification tests in order to ready them for 
flight. Kennedy will perform final integration of the Long 
Spacer truss segment to the IEA and final verification and 

More than 390,000 pounds of Station components are in orbit. 
Approximately 110,000 additional pounds, including S6, are 
being readied for launch aboard Space Shuttle flights during 
the next 14 months.

The S6 will be flown from Houston's Ellington Field to 
Kennedy aboard NASA's Super Guppy cargo airplane. The 
customized four-engine aircraft has a 25-foot-diameter 
fuselage and a foldaway nose enabling it to load and 
transport oversize cargo. 

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