12 October 2001
On Tuesday 16 October the European Astrium consortium will be ready to ship, from its Bremen establishment in Germany to NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, the microgravity science glovebox (MSG), one of the first ESA elements conducting science on the International Space Station. On the same day there will be a press briefing by ESA, Astrium and NASA specialists (see accreditation form attached), followed by a visit to the cleanroom.
The MSG will enable astronauts on board the ISS to perform a wide variety of materials, combustion, fluids and biotechnology experiments and investigations in the microgravity environment. It is slated for launch in the mini pressurised logistic module in May 2002.
This science facility provides an enclosed and sealed work volume fitted with lighting, mechanical, electrical, data, gas and vacuum connections, and thermal control for operation of experiments. The work volume is accessible through built-in gloves which isolate the experiment from the environment and the operator. The MSG is integrated in an international standard rack (ISPR) and can operate in open mode, with air circulating from the work volume to the Space Station cabin, or in closed mode, with air circulating within the MSG only. In addition, the MSG has the capability to maintain an inert atmosphere with dry nitrogen such that the oxygen volume is kept equal to or less than 10%.
The MSG facility was built for NASA for a projected operational use of ten years. It will be accommodated initially in the United States Laboratory (USLab) but could be moved later to ESA's Columbus Laboratory. ESA will have utilisation rights over this facility and will pre-screen European proposed experiments that could be accommodated by it.
After arrival at KSC on 23 October, the MSG will be submitted to preliminary check-out before undergoing a long series of tests on interfaces with the Space Station. If all goes according to plan, on 18 February 2002 the MSG will be installed in the mini pressurised logistic module and will be ready for its long operational life on board ISS.
Note for Editors:
Several European contractors were involved in the development and delivery of the MSG:
- Astrium Payload Organisation (Bremen, Germany) as prime contractor
- Bradford Engineering (Netherlands), responsible for the core facility
- Verhaert Design and Development (Belgium), responsible for provision of the airlock (part of the core facility) of the stowage drawers and outfitting equipment
- ATOS-Origin (Netherlands), responsible for the application software
The MSG will be making the first use of the of the European "standard payload outfitting equipment (SPOE)", i.e:
- standard payload computer (SPLC) and relevant software provided by Astrium Infrastructure (Bremen, Germany)
- analogue video board (AVI) provided by Laben (I)
- remote power distribution assembly (RPDA) provided by Carlo Gavazzi Space (Italy)
- avionics air assembly (AAA) provided by Bradford Engineering (The Netherlands)
and hosting the video drawer assembly (VDA) provided by Bradford Engineering (The Netherlands) and procured by the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes (NIVR).
For further information, please contact :
Media Relations Office
ESA- Head Office, Paris, France
Tel. + 33.1. 53.69.7299
Fax. + 22.214.171.124.7690
Lina De Parolis
MSG & Cryosystem Project Manager
ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
12h00 Welcome by Dr Mathias Spude (Astrium-SI)
12h05 Statement by Dr Karl Knott (ESA)
12h15 Statement by Michael Culp (NASA)
12h25 Statement by Dr Graul (Astrium-SI)
12h35 Visit to cleanroom (in groups of five)
Hünefeldstrasse 1-5 - Bremen
Tuesday 16 October 2001
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