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3 Conducting Microgravity Research: U.S. and International Facilities This chapter is designed to provide detailed information on U.S. and international microgravity science and research facilities and accommodations, as well as their current status and availability. Like Chapter 2, it helps set the stage for the panel chapters that follow because it provides a reasonably complete and coherent picture of the research capabilities that are referred to frequently, but in a more fragmented manner, in the remainder of the report. This chapter covers major facilities for microgravity research. It is intended to help scientists and researchers understand microgravity research capabilities available nationally and internationally for specific areas of research. It includes hardware currently in development or proposed for future development and facilities that were canceled but considered high priority by the scientific community. The details provided in this chapter were obtained from various official international space agency sources describing hardware and capabilities. Units included in descrip - tions are retained as originally provided and therefore vary between standards. Facilities and hardware designed to accommodate microgravity experiments can be divided into space- and ground-based, pressurized and nonpressurized, and automated and non-automated. The International Space Station (ISS) is the sole space-based facility providing long-term laboratory mod - ules for scientists worldwide to carry out pressurized and nonpressurized microgravity experiments. The ISS can accommodate a wide range of life and physical sciences research in its six dedicated laboratory modules and, in addition, provides external truss and exposed facility sites to accommodate external attached payloads for tech - nology development, observational science, and other tests. There are also free-flyers* and satellites dedicated to physical and life sciences research, providing a platform for long-duration missions. However, free-flyers typically do not allow access to astronauts and are fully automated. Ground-based facilities for microgravity physical sciences include parabolic flights, drop towers, and sound - ing rockets. In addition, space life science researchers require access to highly specialized ground facilities, for instance the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) bed rest facilities at Johnson Space Center (JSC). This chapter is divided into four sections addressing the types of facilities involved in microgravity research and associated infrastructure: (1) facilities aboard the ISS, (2) global space transportation systems, (3) free-flyers, and (4) U.S. and international ground-based microgravity research facilities. While these descriptions of major, relevant facilities have been included in the report for the convenience of the reader, it should be kept in mind that *Free-flyers have their own dedicated section titled “Free-Flyers” below in this chapter, following the “Global Space Transportation” section. 23
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24 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION the selection of facilities and their capabilities continue to evolve. Readers are referred to NASA websites for the most current information on facilities and equipment for research. † INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION The major intended purpose of the ISS is to provide an Earth-orbiting research facility that houses experi - ment payloads, distributes resource utilities, and supports permanent human habitation for conducting science and research experiments in a microgravity environment. It is expected to serve as a world-class orbiting national and international laboratory for conducting high-value scientific research and providing access to microgravity resources for major areas of science and technology development. The ISS sustains a habitable living and working environment in space for extended periods of time, and astronauts become not only the operators of experiments but also the subjects of space research. NASA has partnered with four other space agencies on the ISS Program: the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the European Space Agency (ESA). Based on international barters, the United States owns 50 percent of all science/experiment racks located in the ESA and JAXA laboratory modules. The U.S. principal investigators working with NASA have access to these facilities but not necessarily to facilities owned and operated exclusively by ISS partners. Exclusively owned Rus - sian facilities are a good example of the latter. The ISS can support a variety of fundamental and applied research for the United States and international partners. It provides a unique, continuously operating environment in which to test countermeasures for long-term human space travel hazards, to develop and test technologies and engineering solutions in support of exploration, and to provide ongoing practical experience living and working in space. However, with the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, there will be no U.S. government space transportation system available to carry astronauts or payloads to the ISS. The main advantages for conducting life and physical sciences research on the ISS are the access to the micro - gravity environment, long-duration time periods for research, and the extended flexibility the crew and principal investigators will have to perform the experiments onboard. The ISS also provides the opportunity to repeat or modify experiments in real time when necessary. In addition, the human aspect of crew participation, as both experi- menter and subject, is invaluable in human life sciences research. Finally, the ISS provides an analog environment for simulating long-term deep-space human exploration, which allows NASA the opportunity to prepare humans, machines, and organizational and mission planning for the rigors of the next chapter in human space exploration. Science payload operations on the ISS are supported by a wide variety of programs, equipment, and laboratory modules. The following are significant payload components: • U.S. Laboratory, • Facility-Class Payloads, • Attached External Payloads, Centrifuge Accommodation Module (this program was canceled),‡ • • Japanese Experiment Module, • Columbus Orbital Facility, and • Russian Research Modules. The U.S. Laboratory, also known as Destiny, is the major U.S. contribution of scientific capacity to the ISS. It provides equipment for research and technology development and houses all the necessary systems to support a controlled-environment laboratory. Destiny provides a year-round, shirtsleeve atmosphere for research in areas such as life sciences, physical sciences, Earth science, and space science research. This pressurized module is † See http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/facilities_by_name.html. ‡ Utilization of this major component for onboard experiments was to commence in 2008, and was included because it has been cited in past NRC reports as a critical capability for space life sciences research.
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25 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES designed to accommodate pressurized payloads and has a capacity for 24 rack locations, of which the International Standard Payload Racks (ISPRs) will occupy 13 (see Figure 3.1). The ISPRs inside the ISS pressurized modules provide the only means of accommodating payload experi - ments. Each ISPR consists of an outer shell that holds interchangeable racks and that maintains a set of standard interfaces, a support structure, and equipment for housing research hardware. It can accommodate one or several experiments. Through the ISPRs, the ISS payload experiments will be able to interface with the following ISS resources contained on Destiny: • Electrical power, • Thermal control, • Command/data/video, • Vacuum exhaust/waste gas, and • Gaseous nitrogen. The EXPRESS (expedite the processing of experiments to space station) Rack System was developed to provide ISS accommodations and resources such as power, data, and cooling to small, subrack payloads and is housed within ISPRs aboard the space station. An EXPRESS rack accommodates payloads originally fitted to shuttle middeck lockers and International Subrack Interface Standard drawer payloads, allowing previously flown payloads to evolve to flight on the ISS. Figure 3.2 depicts one possible standard EXPRESS rack configuration with eight middeck size drawers and two smaller, International Subrack Interface Standard drawers. The EXPRESS Rack System provides payload accommodations that allow quick, simple integration by using standardized hardware interfaces through which ISS resources can be distributed to the experiment, experiment commands can be given, and data and video can be transmitted. Facility-Class Payloads A facility-class payload is a long-term or permanent ISS-resident facility that provides services and accommo - dations for experiments in a particular science discipline. It includes general capabilities for main areas of science research. Facility-class payloads are located on ISPRs. These facilities are designed to allow easy change-out of experiments by the crew and to accommodate varied experiments in the same area of research. There are facility- class payload racks dedicated to life sciences, material sciences, and fluids and combustion. • Window Observational Research Facility. The Window Observational Research Facility (WORF)1 provides a crew workstation window in the U.S. Destiny module to support research-quality optical Earth observations. Some of these observations include “rare and transitory Earth surface and atmospheric phenomena.” 2 • Life Sciences Glovebox. This glovebox, which occupies one rack location, provides a sealed workspace3 within which biological specimens and chemical agents can be handled while remaining isolated from the ISS cabin. Its design was based on experience with other gloveboxes flown on previous Spacelab § missions aboard the space shuttle. • Microgravity Science Glovebox. The Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) also provides a sealed envi- ronment and is intended to enable scientists from multiple disciplines to participate actively in the assembly and operation of experiments in space with much the same degree of involvement that they have in their own research laboratories.4 The MSG core work volume slides out of the rack to provide additional crew access capability from the side ports.5 • Cold Storage: Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS, Glacier, and Microgravity Experi- ment Research Locker/Incubator. The Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI) 6 is designed § Spacelab was a reusable laboratory module flown in the space shuttle’s cargo bay and used for microgravity experiments that were oper - ated and/or monitored by astronauts.
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26 FIGURE 3.1 Destiny module research rack topology at assembly complete, Flight STS-130, Stage 19A. NOTE: 13 NASA Utilization Rack Locations (10 with Uti - lization at Assembly complete). ARS, Air Revitalization Subsystem; CHeCS, Crew Health Care Systems; CIR (PaRIS), Combustion Integration Rack (Passive Rack Isolation System); DDCU-#, Direct-Current-to-Direct Current/Converter Unit; EXPR-#, EXPRESS Rack Number; FIR, Fluids Integration Rack; MELFI-#, Minus Eighty Degrees Laboratory Freezer for ISS; MSRR-# (ARIS), Materials Science Research Rack (Active Rack Isolation System); MSS/AV, Mobile Servicer System/ Avionics; RSR, Resupply Stowage Rack; TCS, Thermal Control System; TeSS, Temporary Sleep Station; WORF, Window Observational Research Facility; ZSR, Zero-Gravity Stowage Rack. SOURCE: J. Robinson, ISS Program Scientist, “International Space Station: Research Capabilities in Life and Physical Sciences, Early Utilization Results,” presentation to the Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space, May 7, 2009.
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27 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES FIGURE 3.2 EXPRESS rack configuration. SOURCE: Left: NASA, International Space Station Familiarization Training Manual, ISS FAM C TM 21109, June 3, 2004. Right: NASA, International Space Station Users Guide, ISS User’s Guide- Release 2.0, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston Tex., 2000 3.2 right express rack from word.eps bitmap to operate optimally at −80°C (−112°F) but has independent activation/deactivation and temperature control for each Dewar. Dewars are certified to operate at one of three set points: −95°C, –35°C, and +2°C. The MELFI can preserve samples that require all biochemical action to be stopped but do not require cryogenic temperatures. Cell culture media and bulk plant material, as well as blood, urine, and fecal samples, are among the types of items that can be stored in the MELFI.7 Although the MELFI is not certified for operation at temperatures other than its current three set points, the Glacier freezer aboard the ISS is capable of operating at any temperature between +4°C and −99°C, and can go as low as −130°C (which requires water cooling and more power available via the EXPRESS racks). There will be two GLACIER freezers aboard the ISS after shuttle retirement. Glacier provides powered cooling on ascent and descent, and following shuttle retirement can return to Earth with payloads via SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. 8 The Microgravity Experiment Research Locker/INcubator (MERLIN) is an on-orbit incubation and low- temperature storage facility for science experiments, as well as stowage transportation to and from orbit. It con - tains seven flight units owned by the University of Alabama. It can support samples from +4°C to +48.5°C in air cooling mode while stored in the space shuttle’s middeck, and −20°C to +48.5°C in water cooling mode when housed in an EXPRESS rack.9 • Attached External Payloads. Attached payload sites for external experiments are located on the trusses of the ISS outside the pressurized volume. Attached payloads have access to station power, the command and data handling system, and video. The crew interfaces with attached payloads using robotics for installation and removal of the payload, with no nominal extravehicular activity operations anticipated. 10 • Centrifuge Accommodation Module (canceled). The Centrifuge Accommodation Module was a research facility especially designed to study the effects of selected gravity levels (0.01 g to 2 g) on the structure and func- tion of plants and animals, as well as to test potential countermeasures for the changes observed in microgravity. 11 More detailed descriptions of the above facilities are given below in this chapter, in the section “Major ISS Facilities by Discipline.”
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28 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION U.S. Partner ISS Facilities and Modules Meaning “dawn” in Russian, the Rassvet Mini-Research Module-112 is used for science research and cargo storage, as well as providing an additional docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles at the ISS. This facility will serve as a home to biotechnology and biological science experiments, fluid physics experiments, and education research. The module contains a pressurized compartment with eight workstations, including a sealed glovebox to keep experiments separated from the cabin environment, two incubators to accommodate high- and low-temperature experiments, and a vibro-protective platform to protect payloads and experiments from onboard vibrations.13 The Poisk Mini-Research Module-2 is a multipurpose extension of the ISS connected to the Zvezda module. It provides an additional docking port for visiting Russian spacecraft and serves as an extra airlock for spacewalkers wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits. ESA contributed the Columbus module and three Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLMs). One of the modules will become a permanent fixture of the ISS through an agreement with the Italian Space Agency, which built the modules. Columbus is ESA’s single largest contribution to the space station, and at 23 ft long and 15 ft wide, it can accommodate 10 internal ISPRs of experiments and four external payload facilities (up to 370 kg each). Five of the ISPRs belong to NASA. Columbus houses a Biolab, Fluid Science Laboratory, European Physiology Module, and European Drawer Rack. It is equipped with two video cameras and a monitor audio system, as well as an external payload facility. The laboratory can support up to three crew members and can operate in temperatures between 16°C and 27°C and at air pressures between 959 and 1013 hPa. The MPLMs and Columbus share a similar architecture and basic systems and have essentially the same dimensions. Approximately 21 ft long and 15 ft in diameter, the MPLMs can accommodate 16 payload racks, 5 of which can be furnished with power, data, and fluid to support a refrigerator-freezer. 14 Built by the Italian Space Agency but owned and operated by NASA, the MPLMs ferry pressurized material to the station and return waste, experiment racks, and other miscellaneous items (e.g., failed equipment) to Earth via the space shuttle. One of the MPLMs, Leonardo, was converted into the Permanent Multipurpose Module of the ISS, which was launched to the ISS on the STS-133 mission on February 24, 2011 (ISS Assembly Mission ULF5). The Japanese Experiment Module Kibo, which is Japanese for “hope,” is Japan’s first human space facility and its primary contribution to the ISS. The Kibo laboratory consists of a pressurized module and an exposed facility, which have a combined focus on space medicine, biology, Earth observations, material production, biotechnology, and communications research. The laboratory consists of six components: 15 • Two research facilities, the pressurized module and the exposed facility; • A logistics module attached to each facility; • Remote Manipulator System; and • Inter-Orbit Communication System unit. Kibo’s pressurized module can hold up to 23 racks, including 10 experiment racks. Five of these racks belong to NASA. They provide access to power, communications, air conditioning, hardware cooling, water control, and experiment support functions.16 Kibo’s exposed facility is located outside the pressurized module and is continuously exposed to the space environment. Experiments conducted on the exposed facility focus on Earth observation, communications, science, engineering, and materials science. The facility measures 18.4 ft wide, 16.4 ft high, and 13.1 ft long, and can sup - port up to 10 experiment payloads at a time. Kibo uses Experiment Logistics Modules, which are both pressurized and exposed to the space environment and which serve as on-orbit storage areas housing materials for experiments, maintenance tools, and supplies. The pressurized section of each logistics module is a cylinder attached to the top of Kibo’s pressurized module and can hold eight experiment racks. The exposed section of each logistics module is a pallet that can hold three experiment payloads, measuring 16.1 ft wide, 7.2 ft high, and 13.8 ft long.
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29 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES Laboratory Support Equipment Laboratory support equipment aboard the ISS includes automatic temperature controlled stowage, centri - fuges, combustion chambers, biological culture apparatus, experiment preparation units, human restraint system, incubators (with a temperature range of −20°C to +48.5°C, interferometers, laptop computers, microscopes, multi-electrode electroencephalogram mapping module, optical and infrared cameras, optics benches, refrigera - tors and freezers that can store samples down to −185°C, solid-state power control module, spectrophotometers, temperature-controlled units, ultrasound, vacuum access system, and vibration isolation frames. Major ISS Facilities by Discipline Life Sciences Human Research Facility 1 The Human Research Facility 1 (HRF-1)17 provides investigators with a laboratory platform to study how long-duration spaceflight affects the human body. The HRF-1 includes a clinical ultrasound and a device for measuring mass.18 Equipment is housed either on a rack based on the EXPRESS rack design or in stowage until needed. HRF-1 operates at ambient temperature, utilizing the ISS moderate temperature cooling loop, and has access ports for a nitrogen delivery system, vacuum system, and laptop. HRF-1’s Workstation 2 is a computer system that provides operators with a platform to install and run software used in investigations. Components and equipment include the following: ultrasound drawer containing ultrasound/Doppler equipment, Workstation 2, two cooling stowage drawers that maintain a uniform temperature, Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device,19 and the Continuous Blood Pressure Device. Human Research Facility 2 The Human Research Facility 2 (HRF-2),20 like HRF-1, addresses the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. HRF-2 contains different equipment than HRF-1 contains, such as a refrigerated centrifuge and devices for measuring blood pressure and heart and lung functions. It is based on the EXPRESS Rack System and, like HRF-1, is able to provide power, data handling, cooling air and water, pressurized gas, and vacuum to experiments. Components and equipment include the following: refrigerated centrifuge, Workstation 2 (same as in HRF-1), two cooling stowage drawers, and the Pulmonary Function System. Included in the Pulmonary Function System are the Photoacoustic Analyzer Module, Pulmonary Function Module, Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Analysis Physiology,21 and the Gas Delivery System. The 6-chamber refrigerated centrifuge can hold samples sized from 2 to 50 mL, while the 24-chamber refrig - erated centrifuge can hold samples ranging from 0.5 to 2.2 mL. These refrigerated centrifuges can spin from 500 to 5,000 revolutions per minute for durations of 1 to 99 minutes, or they can be set to run continuously. The cen - trifuges were designed to be capable of maintaining a chamber temperature of +4°C, with selectable set points in increments of 1°C. The refrigeration capability of the centrifuges does not work currently, but they still function nominally as centrifuges.22 The Pulmonary Function System is a NASA-ESA collaboration that allows two different respiratory instru - ments to be created through the interconnection of components: the Mass spectrometer-based Analyzer System and the Photoacoustic-based Analyzer System. Combined with the Gas Analyzer System for Metabolic Physiology, Pulmonary Function Module, and Gas Delivery System, these instruments can “determine the concentration of respired gas components,” take “cardiovascular and respiratory measures, including breath-by-breath lung capacity and cardiac output,” and “measure the concentration of gases in inspired and expired air.” 23 Biological Experiment Laboratory The Biological Experiment Laboratory (BioLab)24 is an on-orbit biology laboratory located in the Columbus module that is used to study how microgravity and space radiation affect unicellular and multicellular organisms
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30 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION including bacteria, insects, protists (simple eukaryotic organisms), seeds, and cells. The facility is divided into two sections: one automated (that can also receive commands from ground operators) and one designed for crew interaction with experiments. Onboard instrumentation includes a large incubator, two centrifuges, a microscope, a spectrophotometer, a sample-handling mechanism (robotic arm), automatic and manual temperature-controlled stowage units, an experiment preparation unit, and a glovebox (called the BioGloveBox). BioLab’s life support system can also regulate atmospheric content, including humidity. Biological samples for experimentation are transported from the ground in experiment containers or in small vials and manually inserted into the BioLab rack. European Physiology Module The European Physiology Module (EPM)25,26,27 is designed to improve understanding of the effects of space flight on the human body. EPM research covers neurological, cardiovascular, and physiological studies and inves - tigations of metabolic processes. It consists of three science modules: two active modules (Cardiolab and the Multi Electrodes Encephalogram Measurement Module) and one sample collection kit that enables collection of biologi - cal samples (blood, urine, and saliva). Up to three “active” human body experiments can be tested at one time; each subject is required to supply baseline samples and data before spaceflight for comparison to experimental data. Muscle Atrophy Research And Exercise System The Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES)28,29,30 is used in studying human musculoskel- etal, biomechanical, and neuromuscular physiology with respect to microgravity. This general-purpose instrument includes a human restraint system, a vibration isolation frame, a laptop, and a direct drive motor to provide the core mechanical stimulus. The system can be used in conjunction with other instrumentation, such as the Percutaneous Electrical Muscle Stimulator II and an electromyogram device. Although its primary function is research, it can also be used solely for exercise purposes. Components and equipment include an electromechanical box, human restraint system, linear adapter, vibration isolation frame, and laptop computer. Saibo Experiment Rack The Saibo Rack31,32 is a Japanese experiment platform that includes subracks designed for living-cell biology experiments. It includes a glovebox (called the Clean Bench) and a cell biology experiment facility that includes a CO2 gas incubator with controlled atmosphere and centrifuges that support operations from 0.1 g to 2.0 g. The Clean Bench includes a HEPA filter and high-performance optical microscope. Located in the Japanese Kibo module, Saibo is housed in an ISPR that can be divided in multiple payload segments. Physical Sciences Fluids and Combustion Facility The Fluids and Combustion Facility consists of two racks, the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) and the Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR). The CIR33–36 features a 100-liter combustion chamber and is used to perform combus- tion experiments in microgravity and consists of an optics bench, a combustion chamber, a fuel and oxidizer man - agement system, environmental management systems, interfaces for science diagnostics and experiment-specific equipment, five cameras, gas supply package, exhaust vent system and gas chromatograph, and environmental control subsystems (including water and air thermal control, and fire detection and suppression). The CIR has been designed for use with the Passive Rack Isolation System, which connects the rack to the ISS structure and attenuates much of the U.S. Laboratory’s vibration.37 CIR experiments are conducted by remote control from the Telescience Support Center at NASA Glenn Research Center.38 The FIR39,40 is a fluid physics research facility, complementary to the CIR, that is designed to support inves - tigations in areas such as colloids, gels, bubbles, wetting and capillary action, and phase changes in microgravity such as boiling and cooling. It uses the Active Rack Isolation System and is capable of incorporating different modules that support widely varying types of experiments. Components and equipment include an optics bench and a light microscopy module, gas interface panel (providing ISS gaseous nitrogen and vacuum), Fluids Science
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31 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES Avionics Package, and Mass Data Storage Unit. While most FIR experiment operations are performed from the ground by teams at NASA Glenn Research Center, the ISS crew installs and configures the necessary hardware. Materials Science Research Rack-1 The Materials Science Research Rack-1 (MSRR-1)41 is used for materials science experiments and research in microgravity. It provides instrumentation and thermal chambers for the study and mixing of materials, growing crystals, and quenching/solidifying metals or alloys. It occupies a single ISPR and is equipped with the Active Rack Isolation System. While MSRR-1 is a highly automated facility, it requires crew attention for maintenance and to install exchange modules. The first experiment module installed in the MSRR-1 is the Materials Science Labora - tory (MSL) built by ESA. MSL takes up almost half of the MSRR-1 housing, is designed for materials processing and advanced diagnostics, and features multiple on-orbit, replaceable, module inserts also developed by ESA. The MSL can also be used for stowage and transportation back to Earth.42,43,44 Components and equipment include a solid-state power control module, master controller, vacuum access system, and thermal and environmental control system. MSRR-1 currently hosts ESA’s Material Science Laboratory. Fluid Science Laboratory The Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL)45,46 was developed by ESA and designed to conduct fluid physics research in microgravity. It can be operated as a fully automatic or semi-automatic facility controlled either by ISS crew or in telescience mode from the ground. A drawer system allows for different configurations to accommodate a variety of experiments and for easy access for upgrades and maintenance of the system. FSL experiments must be installed in an FSL experiment container with a typical mass of 30 to 35 kg and dimensions of 400 × 270 × 280 mm3. Researchers may choose to activate the Canadian Space Agency-developed Microgravity Vibration Isolation Sub - system (via magnetic levitation) to isolate the experiment from space station “g-jitter” perturbations.47 Components and equipment include optical and infrared cameras, multiple interferometers, illumination sources, two central experiment modules, a video management unit, storage, and a workbench. Microgravity Science Glovebox More than twice the size of gloveboxes flown aboard the space shuttle, MSG 48,49 (Figure 3.3) is an extendable and retractable 9-ft3 sealed work area (at negative pressure relative to ISS cabin pressure) accessible to the crew through glove ports and to ground-based scientists through real-time data links. MSG is well suited for small and medium-sized investigations in many different kinds of microgravity research, such as fluid physics, combustion science, materials science, biotechnology, and fundamental physics. Components and equipment include three stowage drawers, a powered video drawer containing four video cameras, four recorders, two monitors (digital or 8 mm), standard and wide-angle lenses for each camera, and a laptop computer. Mini-Research Module 1 Rassvet As noted above, MRM150,51 is used for science research and cargo storage, as well as providing an additional docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles at the ISS. Measuring 19.7 ft long and 7.7 ft in diameter, the facility has been planned to serve as a site for biotechnology and biological science experiments, fluid physics experiments, and education research. The module plans describe a pressurized compartment with eight worksta - tions, a sealed glovebox to keep experiments separated from the cabin environment, two incubators to accommodate high- and low-temperature experiments, and a vibroprotective platform to protect payloads and experiments from onboard vibrations. The eight workstations or arc-frames have extendable module-racks. The MRM1 glovebox can handle sterile or hazardous substances or bulk matter, as well as providing airlock, cleaning, and sterilization aids at 99.9 percent pure atmosphere. Its usable volume is 0.25 m3. The High Temperature Universal Biotechnological Thermostat is designed to provide the temperature conditions required for handling biological objects (+2°C to +37°C). The Low Temperature Biotechnological Thermostat is similar, but it has an operating temperature of −20°C. The Uni - versal Vibration Protection Platform protects scientific equipment up to 50 kg in mass from ambient vibration at frequencies from 0.4 to 250 Hz with a coefficient not less that 20 dB.
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32 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION FIGURE 3.3 Microgravity Science Glovebox on the ISS. SOURCE: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, available at http:// msglovebox.msfc.nasa.gov/capabilities.html. Ryutai Experiment Rack Japanese for “fluid,” the Ryutai Experiment Rack is housed in an ISPR in the Japanese Kibo module. Ryutai52,53 provides standard interfaces to accommodate modular payloads in various research areas. It is designed to contain multiple JAXA subrack facilities. Components and equipment and subracks include a fluid physics experiment facility, protein crystallization research facility, solution crystallization observation facility, and image processing unit.
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33 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES Space Sciences Payloads EXPRESS Racks The EXPRESS Rack System54 was developed to provide the ISS with standardized accommodations for small, subrack payloads. Currently, eight EXPRESS racks are in use or scheduled for use on the ISS. The EXPRESS Rack System also includes transportation racks to transport payloads to and from the ISS and suitcase simulators to allow a payload developer to verify ISS power and data interfaces at the development site. Each EXPRESS rack can accommodate 10 “standard-sized small experiments” (the equivalent in up to 80 individual experiments), and approximately 50 percent of the EXPRESS payload housing capability is available for use as part of the U.S. National Laboratory aboard the space station. Of the eight EXPRESS racks, one rack, EXPRESS-6, is used in part for crew galley purposes. EXPRESS racks 7 and 8 were added specifically for the National Laboratory. 55 Subracks accommodated on an EXPRESS rack include the European Module Cultivation System installed on EXPRESS Rack 3A, Advanced Protein Crystal Facility on EXPRESS Rack 1, Biotechnology Specimen Tempera - ture Controller on EXPRESS Rack 4, Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, BioServe Culture Apparatus, General Laboratory Active Cryogenic ISS Experiment Refrigerator, Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator, Biotechnology Temperature Refrigerator, ARCTIC Refrigerator/Freezer, Portable Astroculture Cham - ber, Advanced Space Experiment Processor, Advanced Biological Research System, and Common Refrigerator Incubator Module-Modified. Columbus External Payload Facility The Columbus External Payload Facility56,57 (attached to the outside of ESA’s Columbus module) has four powered external attachment points for scientific payloads: one on the nadir side, one on the zenith side, and two on the starboard sides of the Columbus module. Each attachment can provide 1.25 kW of power via two 120-Vdc redundant power feeds. Modules attached to these locations are interchangeable via extravehicular activity. The maximum mass the Columbus External Payload Facility can accommodate (including the adapter plate) is 290 kg, and payload dimensions should not exceed 86.4 × 116.8 × 124.5 cm, not including the adapter plate. The first set of experiments attached to the Columbus External Payload Facility consisted of the European Technology Exposure Facility58 and the Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus. 59 The Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space60 will be delivered at a date yet to be determined. European Drawer Rack The European Drawer Rack61,62 is a multidiscipline experiment rack housed in an ISPR with seven experiment modules, each of which has separate access to power, cooling, data communications, vacuum, nitrogen supply, and venting. Experiments are largely autonomous, but can also be controlled remotely via telescience, or in real-time by the crew through a dedicated laptop. The European Drawer Rack provides power, cooling, and communica - tions equipment for each of its payloads and is also equipped to supply vacuum, vents, and nitrogen if necessary. Japanese Experiment Module—Exposed Facility This exposed facility on the Japanese Experiment Module63 provides an external platform that can accom- modate up to 10 experiments in the space environment. The first JAXA instruments installed in this facility are the Space Environment Data Acquisition Equipment-Attached Payload, and the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image Payload. The first NASA instruments will be a hyperspectral imager and ionosphere detector. Earth Sciences Payloads WORF WORF64 is based on the ISPR and utilizes avionics and hardware adapted from the EXPRESS Rack System, providing 0.8 m3 of payload volume. It is used in conjunction with and in support of the U.S. Laboratory Science Window for Earth observation science in the U.S. Destiny module. WORF’s primary function is to control the external shutter of the window and as a mounting for imaging hardware. It is designed to minimize reflections and glare and hosts both crew-tended and automated activities. WORF can handle up to three payloads simultane -
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46 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION the speed of the aircraft has dropped to 390 km/h. The period between the start of each parabola is 3 min, with a 1-min parabolic phase (20 s at 1.8 g, 20 s of weightlessness, 20 s at 1.8 g) followed by a 2-min period at steady level 1-g flight. Parabolas are executed in sets of five, after which a longer time is allowed to elapse to allow for modifications to experiments. Cabin pressure is around 0.79 atmospheres during parabolic maneuvers, with a cabin temperature maintained between 18°C and 25°C. Parabolic flights can be used for experiments in fundamental physics, materials science, biology, technology, fluid and combustion physics, and physiology. ESA Sounding Rockets ESA has been using sounding rockets for microgravity research since 1982.151 Today, the agency has four types of sounding rockets (from smallest to largest): MiniTEXUS, TEXUS, MASER, and MAXUS. All of the rockets are launched from the Esrange launch site east of Kiruna in northern Sweden, located 200 km above the Arctic Circle. ESA’s sounding rockets are useful for experiments in fundamental physics, biology, fluid and combustion physics, and materials science. MiniTEXUS is a two-stage solid propellant short-duration sounding rocket capable of carrying one to two experiment modules for 3-4 min of microgravity (≤10−4 g) at a spin rate of 5 Hz, reaching a peak acceleration of 21 g during the first stage. The rocket can handle scientific payloads up to 100 kg, with a payload diameter of 43.8 cm and a length of 1 m. MiniTEXUS reaches an apogee of 140 km. The TEXUS two-stage solid propellant rocket, which has been in operation since 1977, is the workhorse of the ESA sounding rocket family, having launched more than 75 experiments. TEXUS is able to haul up to 260 kg of scientific hardware for approximately 6 min of microgravity (≤10−4 g) at a spin rate of 3-4 Hz, reaching a peak acceleration of 10 g during the first stage. The payload capsule measures 0.43 m in diameter and can accommodate a maximum payload length of 3.4 m. TEXUS reaches an apogee of 260 km. Both TEXUS and MiniTEXUS are operated by an industrial consortium led by EADS-ST out of Bremen, Germany. MASER (Material Science Experiment Rocket) is a Swedish two-stage solid propellant rocket that has been in operation since 1987. It is managed by the Swedish Space Corporation. MASER is capable of launching up to 260 kg of scientific hardware for approximately 6 min of microgravity ( ≤10−4 g) at a spin rate of 3-4 Hz, reaching a peak acceleration of 10 g during the first stage. Like TEXUS, MASER reaches an apogee of 260 km. ESA’s MAXUS rocket is the most powerful of the ESA sounding rocket family. Operated by a joint venture formed by EADS-ST and the Swedish Space Corporation, the one-stage solid propellant rocket is capable of launching up to 480 kg of scientific hardware for 12-13 min of microgravity ( ≤10−4 g) at a spin rate of ≤0.5 Hz, reaching a peak acceleration of 13 g. At apogee, the MAXUS rocket reaches 705 km, about 250 km higher than the orbit of the ISS. Although these four rockets provide experimental environments that differ in some regards (e.g., outer struc - ture heating during re-entry), all payloads are protected prior to launch in environmentally controlled capsules at temperatures around 18°C with a range of ±5°C. After impact of the payloads on the ground, the experiment modules are exposed to snow and cold air for a period of up to 2 h. Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology The Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology (MEDES)152 was created in 1989 to develop expertise in human spaceflight medicine, prepare for future interplanetary human missions, and apply the results of space research in health care back on Earth. MEDES, which is based in Toulouse, France, has four main research areas focusing on space missions support, clinical research, health applications, and telemedicine. The institute provides medical support to the integrated team at the European Astronauts Center. The MEDES role includes selection and training of astronauts, performing aptitude tests, providing medical support during space flights, and ensuring crew rehabilitation and safety. MEDES clinical research takes place at its 1,000 m2 Space Clinic, located within the Toulouse Rangueil
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47 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES Hospital. Primary areas of research are in physiology, pharmacology, and the evaluation of biomedical devices. Part of this research includes simulating the effects of the space environment (involving but not limited to bed rest, confinement, and circadian rhythms), both to study physiological effects and to develop preventive methods and medicine. MEDES health applications research is focused on mitigating the hazardous effects of the space environment on astronauts, and on identifying potential benefits for Earth-based health care for diseases linked to conditions such as aging, lack of physical activity, and osteoporosis. In the area of telemedicine, MEDES is developing satellite applications for remote medical consultation, epidemiology, training (in particular through the use of interactive satellite television), and patient care. Simulation Facility for Occupational Medicine Research The 300 m2 Simulation Facility for Occupational Medicine Research (AMSAN)153 is operated by the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) Department of Flight Physiology. It investigates aviation and space medicine-related issues and conducts human factors research. The facility can hold up to eight subjects at a time, providing envi - ronmental control (e.g., artificial light, climate, and sound-proofing). AMSAN can be used by other departments of DLR and by external clients. Research is focused on: • Examinations of the effects of nocturnal aircraft noise on sleep and performance (assessment and evaluation of criteria); • Standardized metabolic balance studies in a controlled environment for question in space physiology (calcium, muscle, and bone metabolism; cardiovascular and volume regulation); • Investigations under the conditions of simulated weightlessness (bed rest, 6° head-down-tilt); • Simulating critical duty rosters of aircrews; • Assessing changes in the circadian system through time zone flights (jet-lag), shift work, and irregular duty-hours; and • Clinical studies for assessing the efficacy of drugs in the aerospace environment. European User Support and Operations Centers ESA operates nine USOCs throughout Europe, each of which is responsible for oversight and operations relating to specific ISS ESA payloads.154 USOCs act as the link between experiment users and the ISS and are also responsible for preparation of payloads before launch, experimental procedure development, optimization and calibration of payloads, and supporting training activities for ISS crew. These centers are supported by the Columbus Control Centre, located at the German Space Operations Center of DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. Columbus Control Centre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany Although most of the Columbus laboratory’s functions are automated, the Columbus Control Centre 155 is staffed and operated 24 h/day, 7 d/wk. All ground services for Columbus, such as communications (voice, video, and data), are provided by the Columbus Control Centre for ISS users, the ATV Control Centre, the European Astronaut Centre, industrial support sites, and ESA management. The center is in close contact with mission con - trol centers in Houston and Moscow. In addition, it coordinates operations with the ISS Payload Operations and Integration Center at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Biotechnology Space Support Centre, Zurich, Switzerland The Biotechnology Space Support Centre156 is a program of the Space Biology group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich.157 This USOC is responsible for the operations of Swiss programs on the ISS and acts as the Facility Responsible Center for KUBIK, a transportable incubator, and as the Facility Support Center for Biolab, an experimental biology facility in Columbus. It also provides ground infrastructure and training for ESA-approved space experiments and acts as an information center and public outreach group.
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48 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION Belgian User Support and Operations Centre, Brussels, Belgium Located at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, the Belgian USOC 158 is tasked with promoting space research programs and flight opportunities for Belgian scientists in industry, academia, and federal and regional institutions. It provides scientific support in a variety of fields, including microgravity, Earth observation, space sciences, and technology. The Belgian USOC acts as the Facility Responsible Center for the external Solar Moni - toring Facility on the Columbus module on the ISS and as a co-Facility Support Center for the European Drawer Rack/Protein Crystallization Diagnostics Facility. Centre d’Aide au Développement des activités en Micro-pesanteur et des Opérations Spatiales, Toulouse, France Operated by the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, the Centre d’Aide au Développement des activités en Micro-pesanteur et des Opérations Spatiales (CADMOS)159 is a program designed to help scientific teams pre- pare and develop experiments for the microgravity environment. CADMOS was founded as the office responsible for all French human flights performed on the Mir space station or shuttle spacecraft. It has directly overseen several recent missions including a joint ISS French-Russian mission in 2001, for which CADMOS assumed all responsibilities including preparation, development, and certification of payloads and direct mission operations. Danish Medical Centre of Research, Odense, Denmark The Danish Medical Centre of Research (Damec)160 is a high-technology company with a focus on advanced medical instrumentation and other engineering fields pertaining to space applications. Primary ISS contributions include respiratory equipment, the Cevis ergometer for the NASA Destiny laboratory, and the Pulmonary Func - tion System for ESA.161 Damec is the USOC and Facility Support Center for the Pulmonary Function System. In addition, the center has participated in several ESA parabolic flight campaigns to test scientific equipment in simulated microgravity conditions.162 Erasmus User Support and Operations Centre, Noordwijk, The Netherlands The Erasmus USOC is located in the Erasmus Building of ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.163 This USOC is the Flight Responsible Center for the European Drawer Rack, and it has overall responsibility for the rack, as well as for stand-alone Columbus module payloads aboard the ISS. This USOC also acted as the Flight Responsible Center for the European Technology Exposure Facility. Via teleoperations, the Erasmus USOC operates specific payloads and experiments onboard the ISS and works with multiple Facility Support Centers and User Home Bases located at institutes and universities across Europe. This USOC prepares, plans, and coordinates payload flights and ground operations; monitors experiments and payloads around the clock; tests and validates new operations; and prepares new facilities and experiments. Spanish User Support and Operations Centre, Madrid, Spain The Spanish USOC164 is a center of the Polytechnic University of Madrid and acts on behalf of ESA as the point of contact for Spanish user teams developing experiments requiring a microgravity environment. The Spanish USOC is the Facility Support Center for the Fluid Science Laboratory, an ESA experimental payload on the ISS Columbus module. It is also the Spanish point of contact for all of ESA’s low-gravity platforms, including drop towers, parabolic flights, sounding rockets, and Foton retrievable capsules. Telespazio, Naples, Italy In 2009, Telespazio incorporated the Microgravity Advanced Research and Support Center 165 and now acts as an Italian support center for European experiments on the ISS. Telespazio works in all areas of development and experimentation, including payload integration, in-orbit operations, astronaut training, and dissemination of scientific data. In particular, Telespazio has devoted resources to the European Union’s scientific and technologi - cal research project ULISSE, a program designed to assimilate data from ISS experiments with data from other microgravity missions. In addition to contributions to ISS operations, Telespazio participates in research for direct
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49 CONDUCTING MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH: U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES exploration missions to near-Earth objects through ESA’s Space Situational Awareness program and in lunar and Mars exploration programs promoted by ESA. Microgravity User Support Centre, Cologne, Germany DLR’s primary microgravity research facility is the Microgravity User Support Centre, 166 which supports users in materials physics, aerospace medicine, and astrophysics. Specific tasks include preliminary research on functionally identical ground models of flight hardware, on-orbit operation of payloads, experiment analysis, and data archiving. Its ISS facilities include Biolab, Expose, Matroshka, and the Materials Science Laboratory. In addition, this center is responsible for space readiness qualification of space experiments to be flown on the ISS, largely through testing on the European A300 parabolic flight test aircraft. 167 Norwegian User Support and Operations Centre, Trondheim, Norway The Norwegian USOC168 is the Facility Responsible Center for the European Modular Cultivation System, 169 and the USOC has contributed to planning, development, integration, and execution of the different experiments that utilize this system onboard the ISS. The center provides system users with communication and data-processing capabilities that call for real-time data monitoring and control of experiments. Russian Ground-Based Facilities Atlas Aerospace Atlas Aerospace170 is a private company based in Russia and offering parabolic microgravity flights aboard an IL-76 aircraft. It also operates the “hydrospace” neutral buoyancy services and centrifuge tests and simulators at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in support of space research, as well as for tourism and recreational purposes. Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center The Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center171 operates several facilities to support microgravity operations including spacecraft simulators and mock-ups, a neutral buoyancy hydrolab, centrifuges, airplanes, and pressure chambers. Japanese Ground-Based Facilities JAXA Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC), Tsukuba The TKSC,172 which sits on a 530,000 m2 site located in Tsukuba Science City, is a consolidated operations facility with world-class equipment and testing facilities. As the center of Japan’s space network, the TKSC plays an important role in Japan’s spacefaring activities. For example, the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo for the ISS was developed and tested at the TKSC. Astronaut training and space medicine research are also in progress there, including simulation of the effects of weightlessness and other factors of the space environment (confinement, circadian rhythms), ground-based control experiments, testing of equipment, medical screening and check-up of astronauts, practice with various tasks in simulated weightlessness (water buoyancy), and wearing spacesuits spe - cifically designed for this purpose. TKSC capabilities include expertise in human factors, confinement, isolation, simulated weightlessness, human physiology, and research on circadian rhythms, human performance, sleep, etc. Parabolic Flight Center, Diamond Air Service (DAS) Incorporation, Aichi Parabolic pattern flights by jet aircraft provide a microgravity condition for about 20 s (at less than 3 × 10 −2 g) in the cabin per pattern. MU-300 and G-II aircraft are used for these microgravity flights. The experimental sup - port system in the cabin was developed by JAXA.
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50 RECAPTURING A FUTURE FOR SPACE EXPLORATION Short Arm Human Centrifuge Center, Nihon University School of Medicine, Tokyo This human centrifuge has a short-radius arm, which can be adjusted to lengths between 1.6 m and 2.1 m. It has a seat located in the cabin, which is freely movable, allowing its top to lean toward the center of rotation. The long axis of the subject’s body is thus parallel to the resultant force vector determined by the gravitation force of Earth and the force generated by the centrifuge. This centrifuge accelerates and maintains gravity levels of one to three times Earth’s gravity. Chinese Ground-Based Facilities China Astronaut Research and Training Center, Beijing Facility capabilities include simulation of the effects of weightlessness by bed rest, etc. Short Arm Human Centrifuge at the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’ an Shaanxi Facility capabilities include the examination of human physiology under various gravitational forces by short- arm human centrifuge. REFERENCES 1. NASA. International Space Station. Fact Sheet. Window Observational Research Facility. Available at http://www.nasa. gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/WORF.html. 2. NASA. 2001. NASA Fiscal Year 2002 Congressional Budget. Released April 9, p. HSF 1-29. Available at http://www. nasa.gov/pdf/118805main_Budget2002.pdf. 3. NASA Ames Research Center. Humans in Space: Life Sciences Glovebox. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ ames/research/humaninspace/humansinspace-lifescienceglovebox.html. 4. NASA Science and Mission Systems. Microgravity Science Glovebox. Overview. Available at http://msglovebox.msfc. nasa.gov/. 5. European Space Agency. Microgravity Science Glovebox. Document EUC-ESA-FSH-023, Revision 1.2. Available at http://www.spaceflight.esa.int/users/downloads/factsheets/fs023_11_msg.pdf. 6. NASA. International Space Station. Fact Sheet. Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS. Available at http:// www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/MELFI.html. 7. Hutchison, S., and Campana, S., ISS Payloads Office, NASA. 2010. “NASA Conditioned Stowage Capability,” presenta - tion for the NASA ISS Research Academy/Pre-application Meeting, August 3-5, 2010, League City, Texas, dated August 2. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/478102main_Day2_P11m_IP_JSC_ColdStow_Hutchison.pdf. 8. Hutchison, S., and Campana, S., ISS Payloads Office, NASA. 2010. “NASA Conditioned Stowage Capability,” presenta - tion for the NASA ISS Research Academy/Pre-application Meeting, August 3-5, 2010, League City, Texas, dated August 2. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/478102main_Day2_P11m_IP_JSC_ColdStow_Hutchison.pdf. 9. Hutchison, S., and Campana, S., ISS Payloads Office, NASA. 2010. “NASA Conditioned Stowage Capability,” presenta - tion for the NASA ISS Research Academy/Pre-application Meeting, August 3-5, 2010, League City, Texas, dated August 2. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/478102main_Day2_P11m_IP_JSC_ColdStow_Hutchison.pdf. 10. NASA. Human Space Flight. Space Station Assembly. Elements: EXPRESS Pallet. Available at http://spaceflight.nasa. gov/station/assembly/elements/ep/index.html. 11. Lomax, T. 2003. “ISS Centrifuge Accommodation Module (CAM) and Contents,” presentation to the Space Station Utilization Advisory Subcommittee, July 29. Available at http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov/docs/ssuas/lomax_8-2003.pdf. 12. NASA. International Space Station. A New “Dawn” in Space. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/ science/10-051.html. 13. NASA. International Space Station. A New “Dawn” in Space. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/ research/10-051.html. 14. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. 2005. International Space Station: Marshall Space Flight Center’s Role in Develop - ment and Operations. NASA Facts. FS-2005-05-49-MSFC. Pub 8-40398. May. Available at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ marshall/pdf/115945main_iss_fs.pdf.
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