Boeing Prepares Last Major Piece of Hardware for International Space Station
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Feb. 5, 2010 – The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] provided engineering and cargo processing services for the Tranquility module, which will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) on Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-130. Endeavour is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 7.
Tranquility — formerly referred to as Node 3 — provides additional space for the ISS’s existing life support and environmental control systems. Thales Alenia Space Italy (TASI) built the utility module and delivered it to NASA. Boeing performed final processing tasks to prepare the module for shuttle integration.
Boeing produced many of the module’s components, including window panes, hatches, berthing mechanisms, ammonia hoses, and ventilation and thermal-coolant valves, at the company’s Huntsville, Ala., facility. The Boeing team also provided engineering and testing support while TASI assembled and tested the module in Torino, Italy.
The Boeing Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) team worked with European Space Agency, TASI and other Boeing organizations to mate the seven-window cupola to the Tranquility module at Kennedy Space Center in September. It was the second time Boeing had joined two large pressurized ISS components together on the ground for launch. The first time was Node 1, which flew with a Pressurized Mating Adapter mated on either end.
“Positioning the two elements for the Tranquility mate was a complex task due to the hardware’s combined size, weight and unique interfaces,” said Bret McAfee, CAPPS senior engineer. “We refurbished existing support structures that Boeing had provided for the Node 1 mate activities. The CAPPS design team developed a system that combined new hardware with the existing structures to support the cupola and manipulate it for the mate with Tranquility.”
Boeing is the prime contractor to NASA for the ISS. In addition to designing and building all the major U.S. elements, Boeing also is responsible for ensuring the successful integration of new hardware and software — including components from international partners — as well as for providing sustaining engineering work for the ISS.
The services and support Boeing provides under its CAPPS contract include planning for and receiving payloads, maintaining associated ground support systems, integrating payloads with the space shuttle, launch support, and space shuttle post-landing payload activities.