July 28, 1997 Michael Braukus Headquarters, Washington, DC July 25, 1997 (Phone: 202/358-1979)
James Hartsfield Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX (Phone: 281/483-5111)
George Diller Kennedy Space Center, FL (Phone: 407/867-2468)
SECOND U.S. SPACE STATION COMPONENT BEGINS LAUNCH PREPARATIONS
The first of two pressurized mating adapters for the International Space Station arrived today at the Kennedy Space Center, FL, from manufacturer McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach, CA.
A pressurized mating adapter is a cone-shaped connector that will be attached to Node-1, the space station's structural building block, during ground processing in Kennedy's Space Station Processing Facility. Node-1 with the adapter attached will be the first element of the Station to be launched aboard the Space Shuttle in July 1998.
The mating adapter will be the connection point between Node-1 and the U.S. financed, Russian-built Functional Cargo Block, which will be launched from Russia as the first Station element to be placed into orbit. The adapter will house Space Station computers and various electrical support equipment and eventually will serve as the passageway for astronauts between the node and the cargo block.
"PMA-1 brings with it the computers that are the intelligence for the node," said Glenn Snyder, Space Shuttle mission STS-88 payload manager. "We're looking forward to testing with those computers."
For processing at Kennedy, the adapter will undergo initial acceptance testing. Then, in early September, it will be mated to Node-1 and a series of integrated tests will be conducted.
"We're pleased that the first mating adapter is now at Kennedy," added John Elbon, test integration leader for McDonnell Douglas. "It is the next of the three elements of flight hardware necessary for the STS-88 mission."
The second adapter, the final element of the STS-88 mission, is expected to arrive at Kennedy this October. It also will be attached to Node-1 in the processing facility. This second adapter will serve as a Space Shuttle docking port during the construction and resupply of the Space Station.
The asymmetrical open-ended cone-shaped pressurized mating adapters are about seven feet long, five feet in diameter at one end and nine feet in diameter at the other. Each adapter consists of five individually machined and welded aluminum ring forgings, thermal insulation blankets and 52 fittings for electrical connections. The outer covering is a double-wall aluminum sheet to protect the adapters from strikes by space particles.
Space Shuttle Endeavour, carrying Node-1 with the two attached adapters, is targeted for launch in July 1998, approximately two weeks after the Functional Cargo Block is launched from Russia.
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