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Wed, Apr 20, 2005

SPACEHAB Rolls Out Hardware Bound For Space Station

Work on Second Return-to-Flight Mission Also On Target

SPACEHAB says its STS-114 module is a "GO" for launch on the May 2005 STS-114 space shuttle mission with the rollout of the Company's External Stowage Platform 2 (or ESP2). This cargo carrier marks a first in the use of large-scale commercial hardware by NASA as it is deployed from the shuttle's cargo bay to its permanent residence on the International Space Station (ISS).

SPACEHAB's ESP2, a modified version of the Company's Integrated Cargo Carrier system, will be permanently attached to the ISS airlock and house critical replacement parts for use by the astronaut crews. It is anticipated that the use of this privately-developed asset on the ISS paves the way for more commercial opportunities during ISS assembly and operations and in support of new exploration initiatives.

"The transfer of our hardware to NASA denotes the culmination of many testing, integration, and training activities," said E. Michael Chewning, Senior Vice President, SPACEHAB Flight Services. "After the successful crew equipment interface test, the STS-114 astronaut crew offered high praise for the work accomplished by our team."

Outfitted with a host of space station 'spare parts', the ESP2 began its two-hour road trip from SPACEHAB's Payload Processing Facility in Cape Canaveral to NASA's Kennedy Space Center where it will be loaded into a large canister with other major hardware elements destined for the orbiting outpost. On April 27 the entire contents of the canister are scheduled for installation into the Space Shuttle Discovery's cargo bay while on the launch pad, awaiting an expected liftoff sometime between May 15 and June 3.

While all eyes are on this historic return-to-flight mission, the SPACEHAB team is also preparing for the second space shuttle flight, STS-121, scheduled to launch just two months after STS-114. On this mission, SPACEHAB is providing its non-deployable Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) system. The STS-121 crew has begun hardware familiarization and training exercises on the ICC, with more preparation scheduled later in the month at SPACEHAB's Headquarters in Houston and at the Company's Florida facility.

The ICC provides a robust, modular, and flexible unpressurized pallet resource, nestled in the shuttle's cargo bay, whose multiple mission configurations can accommodate a variety of payloads. One such SPACEHAB payload on the STS-121 mission is a large storage chest, known as the deployable SHOSS Box, which will be transferred and mounted to the ESP2, previously flown onboard STS-114. This box contains spare parts for future repair and maintenance of the ISS.

The work completed on these missions is opening doors to new SPACEHAB opportunities. For example, the Company is finalizing plans to provide another stowage platform, ESP3, which would be flown on STS-118 and also mounted to the ISS. This cargo carrying pallet, flown in conjunction with SPACEHAB's Single Logistics Module, is currently scheduled for launch in July 2006.

"Our hardware flexibility and expert team are ready to meet evolving requirements as NASA works to complete ISS assembly and begin on-orbit operations," said Michael E. Kearney, SPACEHAB President and Chief Executive Officer. "We look forward to supporting NASA on ISS assembly completion efforts."

FMI: www.spacehab.com

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