Press Release

Astrium delivers first European research facility for the International

By SpaceRef Editor
October 24, 2001
Filed under , ,

* Unique workspace for researchers in orbit

* A new level of quality for basic and applied research in space

* Deployment in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module aboard the International
Space Station scheduled for next year

Bremen — With its delivery of the MSG (Microgravity Science Glovebox),
a multifunctional research facility commissioned by the European Space
Agency ESA, Astrium sets an important milestone for research aboard the
International Space Station. On Tuesday, ESA Director Dr. Karl Knott gave
the green light to Astrium in Bremen to deliver to NASA the first European
research platform designated for ISS. “The delivery of this research
facility for the ISS underscores the significance and competence of Europe
within the biggest technology project ever realised in global cooperation,
emphasised Knott.

Mike Fawcett, NASA representative for the International Space Station
programme Europe, assessed today’s step as “another milestone of the
proven cooperation between the USA and Europe in space”.

Dr. Stefan Graul, Director of Orbital Systems and Operations at Astrium
Space Infrastructure said that “with its fulfilment of the ESA contract,
Astrium has once again proven its exceptional level of competence as a
system partner for the development, production and operation of space
research systems”.

The MSG will for the first time provide future customers with access to
a versatile experiment platform that fulfils requirements in a number of
research disciplines. With 260 litres of usable space, the MSG is about
four times larger than any of its predecessors. Its hermetically sealed
work area for the first time permits video-monitored experiments even
with critical substances. The glovebox offers users a diverse range of
innovative alternatives in its utilisation, from manual control by
scientist astronauts via laptop computers to fully automatic operation,
through to remote control from Earth (“telescience”), whereby a permanent
data exchange link with ground stations is ensured at all times.

Future research using the MSG will be centred around experiments in
materials science. The facility will be used to explore new methods for
manufacturing lightweight materials from metal foams, as well as new
alloys and high-performance semiconductors. Further research in diffusion
analysis will aim at optimising crude oil exploration, or emulsion
processes for wide-band applications in the paint and coating industry,
cosmetics manufacturing, and lubricant production.

The first step will now be to bring MSG to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
in Florida, where engineers from Astrium’s Space Infrastructure Business
Unit will be on hand to assist the platform’s subsequent integration into
the Space Shuttle. The glovebox is scheduled for launch to the ISS aboard
the Shuttle in early summer 2002. As part of the ground team, the Astrium
engineers will be then be tasked with initial operational start-up, as
well as being responsible for maintenance and continued operation of the
MSG during the coming ten years.

Astrium is a joint company of EADS, European Aeronautic Defence and Space
Company, and BAe Systems.

The text of this release, complete background information and high-
resolution photographs are available upon request:

Email: [email protected]

[NOTE: An image supporting this release is available at
http://www.astrium-space.com:8080/news_images/msg1_1003325358021.jpg]

SpaceRef staff editor.