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Space Station To Grow Faster, Mark Firsts Throughout Year

> Jan. 31, 2007
> Katherine Trinidad
> Headquarters, Washington 
> 202-358-3749
> James Hartsfield
> Johnson Space Center, Houston
> 281-483-5111
> RELEASE: 07-19
> HOUSTON - Already spanning an acre in orbit, the International Space 
> Station this year will grow faster in size, power, volume and mass 
> than ever before, significantly expanding its capabilities and 
> setting new records for humans in orbit. 
> "This will be a challenging but rewarding year for the station 
> program," said Kirk Shireman, deputy program manager for the 
> International Space Station. "The station's operations will grow both 
> in orbit and on Earth. As we launch new international components this 
> year, we also will begin new flight control operations from 
> facilities around the world."
> In addition to control centers in the United States, Russia and 
> Canada, control centers for the station also will be activated in 
> France, Germany and Japan, allowing NASA's partners to oversee their 
> contributions to the station.
> In 2007, NASA and Russia plan to conduct as many as 24 spacewalks, 
> more than has ever been done in a single year. The first spacewalk 
> began at 9:14 a.m. CST Wednesday, Jan. 31 on NASA TV and features 
> Mike Lopez-Alegria, the commander of the current space station 
> mission, known as Expedition 14.
> By the end of Expedition 14 in April, Lopez-Alegria should lead all 
> astronauts in the number of spacewalks and the amount of time spent 
> spacewalking. After returning to Earth in July, Expedition 14 and 
> Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams will hold the NASA 
> astronaut record for longest time in space. Lopez-Alegria will have 
> set that record just months earlier. Williams also will have 
> completed the most spacewalks by a woman by the end of February. 
> Also this year, the electricity generated and used on the station will 
> more than double. By the end of 2007, the station's solar panels will 
> extend to almost three-quarters of an acre of surface area. The extra 
> power and cooling will allow the station's living and working space 
> to expand by more than one-third. The complex will grow from its 
> current size of a two-bedroom apartment to the size of a four-bedroom 
> house by year's end. 
> The laboratories aboard will triple, with the addition of the European 
> Space Agency's Columbus lab and the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo. 
> A shuttle mission targeted for October will deliver Columbus, while 
> another mission targeted for December will carry Kibo. The additions 
> will mark the first time the station's interior space has grown in 
> more than six years.
> The station's supply lines also will grow. A new European cargo 
> vehicle, called the Automated Transfer Vehicle, is set to make its 
> first trip to the station in July. Currently, only the space shuttle 
> and Russian Progress cargo craft deliver supplies to the orbiting 
> laboratory.
> This also will be a year of unparalleled robotic operations. For the 
> first time, the station's robotic arm will be used to assemble large, 
> pressurized components without a shuttle present. In the fall, the 
> Canadarm2 will be used to move mating adapters and a large connecting 
> module, called Node 2, into place on the station. Node 2 will provide 
> pathways for crew members, air, electricity and water to the new 
> international laboratories. 
> As the station breaks new ground in its use of robotics, its robotics 
> system also will grow. On the same mission that delivers the first 
> section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo lab, the 
> Canadian Space Agency's Dextre robotic system will be delivered. 
> Dextre, an almost human-shaped two-armed robotic system designed to 
> work with Canadarm2, will add to the highly sophisticated robotics 
> aboard the space station. Dextre will enable the robotics to perform 
> even more intricate maintenance and servicing tasks, which previously 
> would have required spacewalks. 
> For information about the International Space Station, visit:
> http://www.nasa.gov/station
> -end-
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