ISS, short for International Space Station, is considered to be one of the greatest laboratory in the world should its completion results in success. The laboratory is made in attempt to create a place that has no gravity which would be of great help in terms of conducting experiments that requires a place where gravity is absent. The term international on the acronym ISS originated from the fact that ISS is being built in hard works by different countries namely, USA, member countries of the European Space Agency (ESA), Russia, Canada, Japan, Italy and Brazil.
The ISS is viewed to be the largest as well as the most complicated technological project which is being built today. The ISS has been a great accomplishment for mankind. Since the launch of the first two modules, a continuous human presence in space is accomplished. Continuous experiments and researches are being done in the ISS. Although the majority of the astronauts who stayed in the ISS are from the US and Russia, future expedition crews are intended to have astronauts coming from the other contributing countries. The station also became the destination of the first non-astronauts in space.
This opened the possibility of space tourism. The first “tourists”, who paid an extremely high price for pleasure, traveled to and fro the space station aboard the Russian spacecrafts.. The ISS Contributors The United States (National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA), who leads this joint project, is responsible in developing and operating major components of the space station. These components are: connecting modules, a laboratory module, truss segments, solar arrays, a copula and some other modules which are of great importance to the project.
The US also develops many systems to be used in the ISS. Some of these are life support, power communications, guidance and other systems which would help in the operation of space station (Shuttle Press Kit). The contributions of the other countries, along with their corresponding space agencies are as follows (Shuttle Press Kit): Canada (Canadian Space Agency) is providing a mechanical arm which is 55 feet in length. This is to be utilized for assembly of the components of the space station. It will also be used in the maintenance tasks to be done on the ISS during its construction and after its completion.
The European Space Agency (ESA) consists of 11 European countries led by Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Other members are Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. One of their major contributions is the construction of a pressurized laboratory. The space shuttle will transport this equipment into the space station. The European countries will also produce logistics transport or automated transfer vehicles. This time, the vehicles are to be brought by the unmanned Ariane 5 spacecraft.
The ESA manufactures these spacecrafts with EADS Astrium Space Transportation as the prime contractor. The Ariane 5 spacecraft is scheduled for launch on November 2007. The launch site will be in French Guiana and is designed to dock to Zvezda, a Russian space module. The ESA also plans to send a robotic arm like the one that was sent by Canada and is designed to do the same task. Japan (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA) is assigned to build a laboratory with a special platform attached to it. This platform is exposed and will be used for experiments.
The country will also provide automated transfer vehicles. They also plan to launch these on their very own spacecraft, the H-2B which is a product of JAXA. Russia (Russian Federal Space Agency formerly known as Rosaviakosmos), like the US, is producing modules for the space station. These modules include two for research and a service module. The latter is designed to have life support systems where astronauts can dwell. This service module, called the Zvezda was launched using a Proton rocket. The rocket was launched on July 2000.
They will also provide for solar panels capable of producing a power of 20 kilowatts. The Russians will also contribute vehicles like ATVs and Soyuz spacecrafts. The Soyuz are used for personnel transfer. The current ISS can be separated into sides: the Russian and the American. The first main part was Russian made called the Zarya which connected to an American module, the Unity. These two modules act as the core of the ISS. It also served as the link between the two sides. Laboratory modules coming from Japan and the ESA are scheduled to be launched within three years.
The Russians also had plans to launch their first laboratory module and after this launch, a total of four scientific laboratories will be installed to the ISS. The currently installed modules and the planned launches will be discussed in the later part of this paper. Italy (Italian Space Agency) and Brazil (Brazilian Space Agency) will supply some equipment to be used in the construction of the ISS. The equipments to be supplied are made through agreements with US. Italy is also part of the ESA. Automated transfer vehicles (ATV) are to be contributed by several of the US partners in the construction of the ISS.
These are unmanned spacecrafts to be used in providing the ISS with supplies like water, air and propellant. An ATV approximately weighs 20 metric tons with 9 tons as cargo. The cargo consists of solids, liquids and gasses. The solid or dry cargo supplies and goods needed in the space station. A capacity of 840 kg of water makes up most of the liquids while gasses up to 100 kg are carried. Some gasses carried by the ATVs are nitrogen, oxygen and air. Almost half of the cargo consists of the propellant used for the re-boost into a higher orbit and the refueling of the ISS.
Specifications of the ISS Should the ISS be finished it is gauged to have a measurement of 356 feet (diagonal) and 290 feet (horizontal). It is also estimated to have a mass of 1,040,000 pounds (Shuttle Press Kit). ISS is expected to travel at 17, 240 miles per hour. ISS is also expected to achieve 15. 7 orbits per day. The height of the orbit is designed to be 250 miles with 51. 6 ° inclination. It was designed to make the station accessible by the countries which are part of the project. This would make it easier for the members to maximize the capability of the space station.
The orbit is also highly satisfactory because it covers most of the planet (85 %). It also orbits over almost all or approximately 95 % of the human population (Shuttle Press Kit). As of December 2006, the specifications of the ISS are as follows (Nevills and Dunbar): It has a weight of about 471,444 pounds and a habitable volume of 15,000 cubic feet. The span of solar arrays is at 250 feet. It has a length of 146 feet, measured from the Destiny Lab up to Zvezda. If a Progress is docked, the length is 171 feet. The height of the station is 90 feet. ISS Modules
Since 1998, several modules of the ISS had been launched. Most of these are completed with the aid of the US space shuttles and are therefore launched before the Columbia disaster in 2003. Aside from the space shuttle, Russian spacecrafts such as the Proton rocket and the Soyuz were used in the launching of these modules into the stations orbit (Stathopoulos). The first module launched was the Zarya, also know as the Functional Cargo Group or FGB in Russian. During the early stages of construction, it provided the power required during construction. It also served as storage, which will later be its primary purpose.
Other purposes for this module would be propulsion and guidance. The construction of Zarya was funded by the US, making them the owner of this module. Despite this, the module was produced in Moscow. The Zarya is based on the Salyut program designed by the Russians. It was launched using the Proton rocket in Kazakhstan, on November 20, 1998 (Christy). The weight of Zarya is approximated at 42,600 pounds. It has a length of 41. 2 feet and a width of 13. 5 feet. It was designed to last for more than 15 years. The next module launched was the Unity or the Node Module 1.
It was carried into space by the first space shuttle used for this purpose, Endeavor. The launch was successfully done on December 4, 1998. The docking of Unity in Zarya was completed in December 7, 1998 (Christy). This module takes the shape of a cylinder and has six locations which can be used to connect with other modules. The Unity supplied work and living areas for the ISS, because essential supplies are routed through it. It also contains tens of thousands of mechanical items and miles of wire. The length of the module is 18 feet and its diameter is 15 feet. Its weight is approximately 25,500 pounds.
This module is essentially made of the metal aluminum. The service module Zvezda was the next module launched. This was done using the Proton rocket on July 12, 2000. It carries with it life supports systems and accommodation for two astronauts. This module is the only module which is solely funded and constructed by the Russians. This project was also the first to advertise a product, and in this case it was the fast food chain Pizza Hut. The structural frame of the Zvezda was originally designed for the Mir-2 space station in the 1980s. Like the Unity, its shape is a cylindrical.
The module consists of compartments, one of which is attached to the Zarya. This is called the Transfer compartment and has two other docking ports intended for future modules to be attached. The Assembly chamber is connected to external devices such as antennas. Another compartment is used as an automatic dock for the Soyuz and Progress spacecrafts. The last compartment is the Work compartment where the crew resides and performs their job. The Zvezda has a length of 43 feet and a maximum diameter of about 13. 6 feet. It approximately weighs 42,000 pounds. Its solar array span is around 98 feet.
The fourth module that was launched was the Destiny Laboratory module. It was launched using the space shuttle Atlantis on February 1, 2001. It is connected to the Unity module. The Destiny module is constructed in the US and is their main research laboratory in the ISS. This was also NASA’s first after they abandoned the Skylab in 1974. The module carried with it five International Standard Payload Racks (ISPR) which provided power, water, air and temperature control. Each one of these weighs 1,200 pounds. More than 10 other ISPRs were sent on succeeding launches after the launch of the Destiny.
Researches in many scientific fields are being carried out by the crew inside the facility of the Destiny. Their results would then be passed on to the scientists here on Earth for the improvement of the existing researches. These would help especially in the most important studies in medicine, engineering and other vital fields of science. Researches on the outer space would also take a big leap. An improved understanding on the peculiar occurrences would be better understood and explained. The Destiny is made of aluminum and is 28 feet long. Its diameter is 14 feet at the widest point.
It approximately weighs 32,000 pounds (Christy). The Quest Joint Airlock module was launched after the Destiny and became the primary airlock of the ISS. It was launched with the US space shuttle Atlantis on July 12, 2001 and was connected to the Unity Module. The Quest Airlock consists of two segments, the Equipment Lock and the Crew Lock. The Equipment Lock serves as storage for equipments like suits. The Crew Lock serves as an exit and area where the crew can make final adjustments before they leave the space station and enter outer space. The airlock module is 19. 6 feet long and has a diameter of 13.
1 feet. The module, like the Unity and Destiny, is cylindrical in shape and is mainly composed of aluminum. It weighs 13,200 pounds or roughly 6 metric tons (Wade). The Russian Docking Compartment or the Pirs Airlock was launched on September 15, 2001 using the Soyuz rocket. This module was attached to the Earth-facing port of the Zvezda service module. Its upper juncture used a customized Russian spacecraft, the Progress. The Pirs module serves as an airlock for the spacewalk of the Russian astronauts. At the same time, it can be used as a dock for cargo and transport vehicles coming from Earth.
Originally, two docking compartments (SO1 and SO2) were designed for the ISS but SO2 was cancelled making the SO1 or the Pirs Airlock the only dock for the Russians. SO2 was aborted because of the lack of funding. It was intended to be used after the SO1 has been discarded. The abortion of the project resulted in the continued use of the Pirs airlock until now. The Pirs airlock is 16 feet long and has a diameter of 7. 5 feet. It is approximately 8,100 pounds (Zak). Many other modules and facilities are to be launched to the ISS in the future (Nevills and Dunbar).
Most of them are to be launched using the US space shuttle and the Russian Proton rocket. The ATVs are scheduled to launch using the Ariane 5 of the ESA and the H-2B rocket of JAXA (European Space Agency). Some of the scheduled launches for the additional modules are as follows: This year, two modules are expected to be added to the ISS. The first would be in October and the next in December. Node 2 or the Harmony will be launched in October 2007. This module was fabricated by the Italian Space Agency (ISA) but is owned by NASA. Like the Destiny it will contain racks for life support and will serve as a hub for Columbus and Kibo modules.
The Columbus module is scheduled for launch in December. This module will be the research module for the ESA and will serve the same purpose as the NASA’s Destiny Laboratory module. The Japanese Experiment module or the Kibo has three components. Two of which are pressurized while the third is an exposed section, because of this multiple launches are scheduled in late 2008 and early 2009. Like the Columbus, it will be connected to the Harmony but will be placed on the opposite side. Another science module, this one owned by the Russians, is expected to be launched in the year 2009.
Depending on its time if launch, it can become either the third or fourth laboratory module installed in the space station. It is called the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) and is designed to be attached to the Zvezda dock. This will be the main science module of the Russian side in the ISS and will carry with it equipment which will be used to control the height of the ISS. This will be used as a backup of the space station and will be a good upgrade for the coming years. The Multipurpose Laboratory Module will be launched using the Russian Proton rocket sometime in the year 2009.
The European Space Agency and the Roskomos had an agreement in October 2005 that an ESA mechanical arm like the Canadarm would be sent along with these module. In the year 2010, the last two modules are expected to be launched and could mark the completion of the space station. The first is the Node 3. Like the Harmony, it is built by the ISA but owned by NASA. Its original purpose was to serve as hub for the Habitation module and the crew return vehicle, both of which are aborted projects. The new design of the module has the purpose of storage. The ESA is building a space window called Cupola and plans on sending it with Node 3.
This window will be installed on the Node 3. The last module, the Docking Cargo Module, is Russian made. This module was originally intended to be research module, but its construction never began. So instead of the research module, a docking cargo was built with the purpose of storage and as a dock for Russian spacecrafts. It will be connected to the Zarya (Nevills and Dunbar). Integrated Truss System Aside from the modules sent to the ISS, there is also a truss system being installed. This is called the Integrated Truss System and serves as the backbone of the ISS.
They were originally designed to be assembled by astronauts during space walks. The Z1 truss was the first to be sent into outer space. It was launched in October of year 2000. This truss assembly consists of the early external active thermal control system (EEATCS): accumulators, ammonia, quick disconnects and plumbing. The accumulators feed the EEATCS with ammonia. They also force the liquid to expand thermally while holding the operating pressure to minimal changes. The quick disconnects assist in the transfer of ammonia to the other truss assemblies and into the Destiny (Shuttle Press Kit).
The S0 truss or the Center Integrated Truss Assembly Starboard 0 Truss was attached in the Destiny and served as the main backbone if the ISS. It was launched in April 2002 making it the second truss assembly attached to the space station. It has dimensions of 44 feet by 15 feet. This truss assembly was utilized in mounting electronic devices. It also served as a connection between the Active Control System equipments (Nevills and Dunbar). In October 2002, S1 truss is sent to the ISS and served as the first starboard segment.
It is also called as the Starboard Side Thermal Radiator Truss. On the other hand, P1 which is the first truss attached in the port side, was launched in November 2002. These trusses served as the conveyors for the crew and the Canadarm2 to various points in the ISS. The P2 and S2 truss assemblies are designed for as points of attachment for rockets for re-boost. This capability was present in the Russian modules making this project voidable. Since the P2 and S2 trusses serve no other important purpose, their respective projects are cancelled and their launch was aborted.