Image credit: NASA
Two major components of the International Space Station arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week. Node 2, built by the European Space Agency, will increase the station’s living and work space, while the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) will enhance its research capabilities. NASA engineers will perform integration tests over the course of the summer and then the modules will be moved to the KSC Space Station Processing Facility for a future launch on the space shuttle.
After traveling thousands of miles, two major components of the International Space Station completed the first leg of a journey that will eventually end 240 miles above the Earth. NASA’s Node 2, built for the agency by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Italy, and the Pressurized Module of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) arrived in Florida and are
being transported to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) this week.
“Delivery of these components, built in Europe and Japan, to KSC for integrated testing prior to flight is yet another indication of the significant global cooperation and proactive planning required for successful operation of the International Space Station program,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s Station Program Manager. “Their arrival in the United States signifies the Space Station international partnership is continuing to move forward with the steps necessary to construct our unique research platform in space,” he said.
The arrival of Node 2, the next pressurized module to be installed on the Station, sets in motion the final steps toward completing assembly of essential U.S. components. When
installed, Node 2 will increase the living and working space inside the Space Station to approximately 18,000 cubic feet. It will also allow the addition of international laboratories
from Europe and Japan.
The Pressurized Module is the first element of the JEM, named “Kibo” (Hope), to be delivered to KSC. The JEM is Japan’s primary contribution to the Station. It will enhance the unique research capabilities of the orbiting complex by providing an additional environment for astronauts to conduct science experiments.
The JEM also includes an exposed facility (platform) for space environment experiments, a robotic manipulator system, and two logistics modules. The various JEM components will be
assembled in space over the course of three Shuttle missions.
An Airbus Beluga heavy-lift aircraft, carrying Node 2, departed May 30 from Turin, Italy, where the Italian Space Agency’s (ASI) contractor, Alenia Spazio, built it. Following post-transportation inspections, ASI will formally transfer ownership of Node 2 to ESA, which, in turn, will sign it over to NASA.
The container transport ship carrying JEM departed May 2 from Yokohama Harbor in Japan for the voyage to the United States. The National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) developed the laboratory at the Tsukuba Space Center near Tokyo.
Later this summer, integrated testing will confirm module compatibility and, ultimately, lead to pre-launch processing at KSC’s Space Station Processing Facility.
Original Source: NASA News Release