[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

CHALLENGING YEAR AHEAD FOR SPACE STATION




Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Kyle Herring
Headquarters, Washington            December 20, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1874)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)


CHALLENGING YEAR AHEAD FOR SPACE STATION

     The coming year will be the most challenging ever for 
construction of the International Space Station. Already 
more than two-thirds of the way through the assembly of its 
core structure, international crews face a full and busy 
construction schedule.

2003 will be about power for the Station. Electricity-
generating systems will almost triple in capacity during the 
next 12 months. The Station crew faces a unique challenge, 
while almost continuously rewiring their orbiting home and 
laboratory, the electrical work must be done with virtually 
all-household appliances and computers continuously running 
without interruption.

"The year ahead will be the most complex so far in the 
history of the International Space Station and its 
construction in orbit," NASA Station Program Manager Bill 
Gerstenmaier said. "The Station literally becomes a new 
spacecraft with each assembly mission, and that will be true 
next year with dramatic changes in the operations of its 
cooling and power systems as well as in its appearance," he 
said.

During 2003 three new research facilities will be delivered 
to the U.S. Destiny Laboratory, bringing the total number of 
research racks on orbit to 10. Approximately 30 experiments 
are planned on board the Station in 2003. Crewmembers will 
conduct biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, medicine, and 
manufacturing experiments and also study long-term effects 
of space flight on humans. In addition, the continuous 
detailed measurement of the acceleration environment of the 
Station will be extended to rigorously characterize 
background levels that could affect research data.

2003 is planned to be the final full year of assembly of the 
Station's core structure, with orbital assembly of the 
complex scheduled to be well into the home stretch as the 
year draws to a close. Five NASA Space Shuttle flights are 
scheduled to launch more than 80,000 pounds of components, 
supplies and experiments to the Station. The Shuttle 
missions will launch four new sections of the Station's 
backbone, or truss, to extend its length from the present 
134 feet to 310 feet by the end of 2003.

The new truss segments will include two new huge sets of 
solar array wings for the complex, totaling almost 6,300 
square feet of surface area containing more than 65,000 
individual solar power cells. The new truss segments include 
giant rotary joints to allow the tips of the Station 
"backbone" to continuously move, as the massive panels track 
the sun. The increased power will allow scientific 
experiments to expand aboard the complex in the years to 
come, far surpassing any previous research capability in 
space.

"Today's station, after four years of orbital assembly, is 
unprecedented and spectacular," Gerstenmaier said. "But the 
complex in orbit today pales in comparison to what it is 
planned to become by early 2004 - a research facility with 
unmatched capabilities," he said.

Plans call for astronauts to conduct a world record 24 
spacewalks next year for Station assembly; 18 of those while 
the Shuttle is docked to the Station, and six while the 
Station is flying solo. 2003 will be the third consecutive 
year to set a single-year record for the number of 
spacewalks. The installation of the new truss segments and 
unfurling of the arrays also will require unprecedented 
robotic operations. Those operations will use both the 
Shuttle and Station arms. The operations will rely heavily 
on the capabilities of the Station's space railway to move 
the Station's robotic arm along the truss to position new 
components.

Three Expedition crews will live aboard the station during 
2003, including the current Expedition Six crew of Commander 
Ken Bowersox, NASA Station Science Officer Don Pettit and 
Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin. They will ring in the New 
Year in orbit. Another 31 people, representing at least five 
nationalities, are set to visit the Station during 2003 
aboard the Shuttle and aboard Soyuz spacecraft taxi 
missions. Those visitors include Educator Astronaut Barbara 
Morgan, whose inspirational mission in late 2003 will carry 
students to the heights of orbit.

As NASA looks toward an exciting 2003, a tremendously 
successful year of Station assembly is closing. Four Shuttle 
missions traveled to the station in 2002, delivering almost 
90,000 pounds of new components.

The deliveries included three new segments of the Station's 
truss backbone. The segments stretch 134 feet across the 
orbiting outpost and incorporate station "air conditioning," 
thermal control systems and radiators. The flights also 
delivered key components of the first "space railroad," a 
railcar that travels up and down a railway on the truss 
carrying a Canadian mobile base for the robotic arm. Also 
installed were two astronaut "handcars" to ease the 
transport of spacewalkers and their gear up and down the 
railway. Astronauts conducted a record 22 spacewalks during 
2002.

The final segment of the Station's backbone is scheduled for 
launch in January 2004. It will boost the completed length 
of the truss to 354 feet. The Station's mass will approach a 
half-million pounds.

A look at the year ahead for the International Space 
Station:
(Russian Progress flights not listed)

Shuttle Mission STS-114 (Atlantis)
Launch:     March 1, 2003
Objectives: ISS ULF 1  Deliver new Station crew;
deliver research and logistics equipment
and install new Control Moment Gyroscope
Spacewalks:   Three
Crew:       Commander Eileen Collins
            Pilot Jim Kelly
            Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi
            Mission Specialist Steve Robinson

            Expedition Seven Crew (Up):
            Commander Yuri Malenchenko
            Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri
            NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu

            Expedition Six Crew (Down):
            Commander Ken Bowersox
            Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin
            NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit

Soyuz 6
Launch:     April 26, 2003
Objectives: Deliver fresh Soyuz crew rescue vehicle
Crew:       Commander Gennady Padalka
            Flight Engineer Pedro Duque
            Third crewmember TBD

Shuttle Mission STS-115 (Endeavour)
Launch:     May 23, 2003
Objectives: ISS 12A  Install Port-side truss section
            consisting of segments 3 and 4 (P3/P4),
            including solar array wings, batteries and 
electronics
Spacewalks: Four
Crew:       Commander Brent Jett
Pilot Christopher Ferguson
Mission Specialist Dan Burbank 
            Mission Specialist Steve MacLean
            Mission Specialist Heidemarie Stefanshyn-Piper
            Mission Specialist Joe Tanner

Shuttle Mission STS-116 (Atlantis)
Launch:     July 24, 2003
Objectives: ISS 12A.1  Deliver new station crew;
deliver Portside truss section number 5 (P5)
Spacewalks: Four
Crew:       Commander Terry Wilcutt
            Pilot Bill Oefelein
            Mission Specialist Bob Curbeam
            Mission Specialist Christer Fuglesang

            Expedition Eight Crew (Up):
            Commander Mike Foale
            Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev
            NASA ISS Science Officer Bill McArthur

            Expedition Seven Crew (Down):
            Commander Yuri Malenchenko
            Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri
            NASA ISS Science Officer Ed Lu

Shuttle Mission STS-117 (Endeavour)
Launch:     Oct. 2, 2003
Objectives: ISS 13A -- Deliver starboard-side truss
            consisting of segments 3 and 4 (S3/S4),
including solar array wings, batteries and electronics
Spacewalks: Four

Crew:       Commander Rick Sturckow
            Pilot Mark Polansky
            Mission Specialist Jim Reilly
            Mission Specialist Rick Mastracchio
            Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham
            Mission Specialist Pat Forrester

Soyuz 7
Launch:     Oct. 18, 2003
Objectives: Deliver fresh Soyuz crew rescue vehicle
Crew:       Three-person taxi crew TBD

Shuttle Mission STS-118 (Columbia)
Launch:     No earlier than Nov. 13, 2003
Objectives: ISS 13A.1  Deliver Starboard-side truss 
            segment 5 (S5); Educator Astronaut flight
Spacewalks: Three
Crew:       Commander Scott Kelly
            Pilot Charlie Hobaugh
            Mission Specialist Scott Parazynski
            Mission Specialist David Williams
            Mission Specialist Lisa Nowak
            Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan



-end-

________________________________________________________________
Sign Up for Juno Platinum Internet Access Today
Only $9.95 per month!
Visit www.juno.com
----
Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org



AMSAT Top AMSAT Home