New window for European glovebox facility

Thomas Reiter uses a computer in the Unity node of the International Space Station
11 July 2006

ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter is busy today replacing a window on the European-built Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) facility, which is installed in the US Destiny laboratory. The new window was taken to the Station on board Space Shuttle Discovery.

The Microgravity Science Glovebox was the first European ISS-rack facility to be delivered to the Station and has been on board since 2002. MSG provides a fully sealed and controlled environment, completely isolated from the rest of the Station, and enables the astronauts to perform a wide variety of materials, combustion, fluids and biotechnology experiments on board.

Microgravity Science Glovebox
ESA astronaut Pedro Duque using the Microgravity Science Glovebox during the Cervantes Mission

The glovebox has been used successfully by ESA astronauts during several Soyuz missions, and was recently used by Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur.

All facilities on the Station need to be regularly maintained to ensure they can continue to be safely used in orbit. Reiter will renew the main window and seals to ensure the extension of MSG's certification.

One of the main tasks for the STS-121 and Expedition crews today is the transfer of items to and from the Shuttle, the International Space Station and into the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module. On Friday Leonardo will be returned to the Space Shuttle payload bay packed with science experiment results, unused items and rubbish that will be returned to Earth.

International Space Station
ISS seen from Space Shuttle Discovery during docking operations on 6 July 2006

STS-121 Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers are busy preparing their equipment for the third and final spacewalk, or Extravehicular Activity (EVA), of the STS-121 mission, which will take place tomorrow. During the EVA they will be testing Shuttle-tile repair techniques.

The go-ahead was given last Saturday for an additional day to be added to the Space Shuttle mission, making room for the third EVA. Discovery is due to undock on Saturday, with landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, scheduled for Monday 17 July.

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