"Float-In Closet," Cargo Module Will Also Fly On Endeavour In
The seven astronauts
aboard the space shuttle Discovery benefit from having the
low-Earth-orbit equivalent of an enormous walk-in closet for more
storage room. The commercially owned Spacehab logistics single
module will serve as an extra "float-in closet" during the 12-day
STS-116 mission to deliver hardware, supplies and a new crew member
to the International Space Station.
Located inside the shuttle's payload bay, the Spacehab module
more than doubles the storage capacity of the orbiter's middeck.
The pressurized, powered and climate-controlled module provides a
convenient 1,100-cubic-foot "shirtsleeve" environment for the
astronauts. They can enter through a tunnel connected to the
middeck without ever having to suit up and step out into space.
For STS-116, the module is filled almost to its three-ton
capacity. Mission Specialist Joan Higginbotham will serve as the
"load master," overseeing the transfer of the module's 5,800 pounds
of cargo to the International Space Station. Items to be delivered
include crew essentials like food, clothing and water containers,
as well as spacewalk tools, a television camera and critical spare
The crew will free up room on the station by loading the
Spacehab module with the Russian Elektron oxygen generator,
and waste containers for the return trip to Earth.
Behind Spacehab in the payload bay are the P5 integrated truss
segment and another Spacehab product: the integrated cargo carrier.
Measuring almost 14 feet wide and 7.5 feet long, this versatile
carrier acts as a shelf inside the bay. Cargo attached to either
side of the carrier can be accessed by the shuttle's robotic arm or
by spacewalking astronauts.
Among the equipment mounted on the carrier for STS-116 are
debris panels to shield the station's Zvezda service module from
micrometeorites, and three tiny microsatellites to be deployed late
in the mission.
Spacehab modules and integrated cargo carriers are prepared for
launch at the company's own payload processing facility in Cape
Canaveral, FL near Kennedy Space Center. When the hardware is
tested and certified to fly, it is transported to Kennedy and
installed in the shuttle orbiter. The Spacehab logistics single
module flying on STS-116 was installed along with the other
payloads into Discovery's payload bay on November 11.
The modules can be configured for cargo or science research
experiments, and come in single or double sizes, depending on the
mission's unique needs. The first module, configured for
research, lifted off on Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-57
Another logistics module and integrated cargo carrier are slated
to fly aboard Endeavour on the STS-118 mission, scheduled for
launch in 2007.