Consequences of Reduced ISS Research Capability

Loss, delay, or significant downscaling of the Centrifuge Accommodation Module would preclude the performance of critical, onboard control experiments, without which valid interpretation of life science microgravity data becomes tenuous at best. The proposed removal of a major solar array wing may result in a significant reduction in power available for microgravity research. Many of the facilities, such as the furnaces used by materials science experiments, would require large amounts of power, as would certain life science facilities such as the centrifuge.

In addition to the changes that would seriously affect, or even cripple, a wide range of science disciplines, a number of proposed changes would target individual research disciplines. Reduction in the number of racks for research—such as the proposed reduction1 of the three-rack fluids and combustion facility to a single fluids rack, the cancellation of two of the three materials science racks as well as most of the experiment module inserts for the remaining rack, and elimination of the mammal, plant, and cell culturing habitats for the Centrifuge Module—would have a major detrimental impact on materials and fluids research and eliminate most combustion and fundamental biology research from the ISS (see Table 2.4 in Chapter 2 and Figure 3.1).

FIGURE 3.1 Habitat modules in the Centrifuge Accommodation Module that would be eliminated under proposed Rev. G. Dashed lines are drawn around the deleted habitats. SOURCE: Kathie Olsen, Acting Associate Administrator, presentation at NASA Headquarters to the Biological and Physical Research Advisory Committee on June 14, 2001.

1  

NASA’s proposed FY 2002 budget.



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