Press Release

Final Major Space Station Segments Head to Launch Site

By SpaceRef Editor
December 5, 2002
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The final pieces of what will become the longest
structure in space, the International Space Station’s
football-field-long backbone, are being shipped to Florida
next week.

The 11th and final piece of the Station’s Integrated Truss
Structure (designated Starboard 6 (S6) truss segment) leaves
Houston for the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), on Monday, Dec.
9, weather permitting. S6 will be shipped in two segments.
The first shipment will be the Integrated Equipment Assembly
(IEA), and the second shipment the truss Long Spacer.

The two pieces are too large to be shipped together, but they
will be joined together prior to launch. The S6 shipments
mean virtually all the U.S. core structure of the Station has
left the factory and is either in orbit or being readied for
launch. Only one major Station core component awaits
shipment. The second connecting module, Node 2, is completing
construction in Italy.

When launched in early 2004, the S6 truss will weigh 26,000
pounds and measure 45 feet long. Its assembly in orbit will
complete a 356-foot-long span across the Space Station. The
span will support a half-acre of solar arrays, massive
station cooling systems and a railway to allow a robotic arm
to relocate for Station maintenance.

“The shipment of this segment signals that the fabrication of
all U.S.-built International Space Station core components
has been completed,” said ISS Program Manager Bill
Gerstenmaier. “But the most complex and challenging work is
ahead as we continue to assemble the truss segments in orbit,
multiplying and expanding the Station’s power system. When
this final truss segment is attached in 2004, we will be in
the home stretch of Station assembly,” he said.

The S6 will include the fourth and final set of Station solar
arrays, batteries and electronics. The truss IEA and Long
Spacer have been in Houston for about a year undergoing final
construction. The segment began as a qualification article
for other truss segments before being renovated to flight
status. It will spend a little over a year in KSC’s Space
Station Processing Facility being readied for launch.

While at KSC, the truss IEA and Long Spacer will be
inspected. Orbital Replacement Units will be installed to the
IEA and undergo verification tests in order to ready them for
flight. Kennedy will perform final integration of the Long
Spacer truss segment to the IEA and final verification and
testing.

More than 390,000 pounds of Station components are in orbit.
Approximately 110,000 additional pounds, including S6, are
being readied for launch aboard Space Shuttle flights during
the next 14 months.

The S6 will be flown from Houston’s Ellington Field to
Kennedy aboard NASA’s Super Guppy cargo airplane. The
customized four-engine aircraft has a 25-foot-diameter
fuselage and a foldaway nose enabling it to load and
transport oversize cargo.

Media are invited to view shipment of the S6. For information
on departure viewing opportunities, contact the newsroom at
NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, at (281) 483-5111. For
information on arrival viewing, contact the Kennedy Space
Center newsroom at (321) 867-2468. The recorded message on
Johnson Space Center’s Broadcast News Service at (281) 483-
8600 will be updated during the weekend if weather threatens
the planned shipment of the S6 on Monday.

SpaceRef staff editor.