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ISS VISITS BIRMINGHAM, AL.



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC


Subject: Space Station Exhibit at McWane Center

May 8, 2003

Steve Roy
MSFC, Huntsville, Ala.							
(Phone: 256/544-0034)

Ed Noles 
McWane Center, Birmingham, Ala.
(Phone: 205/714-8219)

RELEASE: 03-073

Step aboard the International Space Station at McWane Center May 24 to
Sept.1

Visitors can blast off on the summer vacation of a lifetime with
International Space Station: The Earth Tour, a 5,000-square-foot,
interactive exhibit appearing at McWane Center in Birmingham, Ala., from
May
24 to Sept. 1. 

McWane -- a science center specializing in hands-on exhibits -- is
collaborating with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Ala.,
on the Space Station exhibition. Visitors can step aboard high-fidelity
replicas of Space Station modules and laboratories, experiencing life in
orbit from lift-off to landing. 
	
The real International Space Station orbits more than 250 miles above
Earth
and is the third brightest object in the night sky. It is evolving from
a
construction project to a world-class laboratory -- the only lab without
an
Earth address. The Destiny laboratory, where most science experiments
are
conducted, was built at the Marshall Center.  Alabamians work seven days
a
week, 24 hours a day in the Payload Operations Center -- NASA's Space
Station science command post located at the Marshall Center.
	
To highlight Alabama's contributions to the Space Station program, the
Marshall Center is sending exhibits about Station hardware, and NASA has
scheduled experts to talk at the museum during selected weekends this
summer. 

On July 19, Todd May, an engineer who led the team that built a "doorway
to
the stars" - the new Quest airlock, will speak. The airlock helps crews
exit
the Space Station for Extravehicular Activities, also known as EVAs and
space walks. May is a native of Fairhope, Ala., and a graduate of Auburn
University in Alabama.

On Aug. 30, visitors can hear about Space Station science from Dr. Bill
Carswell - a senior research scientist at the University of Alabama in
Huntsville. Carswell has been involved with space experiments for 15
years
and currently is working on a furnace that will process metals and
alloys on
the Space Station. 

A Marshall Center exhibit will allow visitors to get their hands on
science
- the same way the Space Station crew conducts science inside the
Microgravity Science Glovebox. Working inside the sealed glovebox by
using
gloves attached to the front, the crew can handle fluids, flames and
other
substances safely. The glovebox exhibit includes a mockup of mission
control, so museum visitors can simulate the communications from the
ground
control to astronauts doing science on the Space Station.

Visitors will view Life Support System Racks and learn the way
wastewater
may someday be recycled for reuse by the Station crew.  Five racks
connected
together include two water-recycling racks, one air recycling rack and
the
Station bathroom and shower. 
	
A third display will feature NASA's Technology Transfer Program by
showing
numerous examples of commercial products used by American's everyday.
These
products -- smoke detectors, a bicycle racing helmet, cordless tools and
golf clubs -- were created or enhanced using technology from the space
program.
	
As part of their Space Station tour, McWane guests will use simulators
to
train for their space mission and experience Shuttle lift off to the
Station
in a special theater. Once in orbit, guests step inside a mockup that
resembles the real Space Station, which has been under assembly by the
United States and 15 other nations since 1998. This international home
in
space has grown from the size of an apartment to a more spacious
facility
roomier than a three-bedroom house. Eventually, it will be as big as a
five-bedroom house with almost an acre of solar panels. 

Aboard the Station, McWane Center visitors learn how astronauts eat,
sleep,
shower, go to the bathroom and keep fit in space. Then they enter the
Station's Destiny laboratory and go to work. Floor-to-ceiling racks
containing equipment, experiments, stowage, crew systems and maintenance
systems expose visitors to day-to-day science activities. After a full
day
of space-work, guests experience a virtual return to Earth in the Crew
Return Vehicle Theater.
	
Built by U.S. Space Enterprises in Charlotte, N.C., International Space
Station: The Earth Tour will travel to venues across the United States
over
the next six years and is expected to attract as many as five million
visitors. The national exhibit sponsor is Goodrich, which developed
space
suits for NASA's Mercury astronauts and produces the wheels and brakes
for
the Space Shuttle. For more information on admission to the McWane
Center,
the exhibit and the Space Station, please visit the following Web sites:

http://www.mcwane.org
http://www.scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/

-end-








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