Space Stations

An Orbital Work Bench

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
May 10, 2020
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An Orbital Work Bench
Maintenance Work Area On The ISS

The Maintenance Work Area (MWA) consists of three major components: MWA Work Surface Area (WSA), MWA Containment System, and MWA Utility Kit.
Additionally, the MWA Utility Strip may be used in conjunction with the MWA Containment System.

The Maintenance Work Area (MWA) Work Surface Area (WSA) provides a rigid surface on which to perform maintenance tasks. The WSA consists of a folding table-like surface and two detachable arms.

The MWA Containment System is designed to contain small particles that may be generated during maintenance activities. The containment system can be attached to the WSA, tethered to the racks, or tethered to a crewmember.

The MWA Utility Kit provides accessory items to aid in the setup and utilization of both the MWA WSA and MWA Containment System.

The arms on the Work Surface Area (WSA) attach to the seat track, providing the work surface with a solid connection point. To aid in quick placement, each arm has a seat track locator. Once the arms are placed in the seat track, the handles can be rotated to lock the arms in position. The WSA has a positive locking mechanism and has been designed to preclude crew injury from sharp corners/edges, protrusions, and pinch points. If desired, the arms may be disconnected from the work surface and independently placed on the seat track. The WSA weighs 32.4 pounds and has a working bench area of 25 x 36 inches.

The MWA Containment System contains 4 glove ports, so that 2 crewmembers can work together if needed. There are also 2 utility ports, which can be utilized to provide power and data or a vacuum inside the containment system via the Electrical Pass Thru and Vacuum Pass Thru from the MWA Utility Kit. Air is allowed to pass into the containment system via a 40 micron mesh metal intake area. The containment system and its plugs have been designed to preclude crew injury from sharp corners/edges, protrusions, and pinch points. The MWA Containment System weighs 10 pounds and has a work volume of 34 x 24 x 26 inches.

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.