KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Nov. 13, 2009 -- When Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 16 to begin its journey to the International Space Station (ISS), it will carry more than 14 tons of large spare parts, many of which were designed or built by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA]. The parts, which Boeing also processed for launch, are critical to sustaining the ISS once the space shuttle fleet retires in late 2010.
Mission STS-129 will deliver 15 spare parts, known as Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs), which will equip the station with its own "home improvement store," stocked with parts for the station's electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, communications, and robotics systems. The space shuttle is the only vehicle -- now or in the near future -- equipped to carry such large parts to the ISS.
"This mission is very important to ensuring the ISS has maximum operational flexibility with a complete set of critical Orbital Replacement Units before the space shuttle fleet retires," said Joy Bryant, vice president and program manager for Boeing's International Space Station Program. "The station has exceeded our expectations from a life-cycle design standpoint. These replacement components will ensure the station can remain operational for many years to come as the U.S. national laboratory ramps up its science activities."
The ORUs being transported to the ISS include an ammonia tank assembly for the station's cooling system, two control moment gyroscopes that are used to control and steer the station, and a plasma contactor unit that disperses electrical charges which could otherwise build up and harm the station and its crew.
Fourteen of the spares are being carried to the ISS aboard Atlantis using two ExPRESS Logistics Carriers that will be permanently mounted to the outside of the ISS. The 15th spare, an S-band antenna support assembly, is mounted to an interior wall of the shuttle's payload bay for transport. It will be stored on the station's truss.
"This is a very special mission for me and the rest of the team that has been working to process the hardware," said Eve Stavros, Boeing Payload Flow manager for Mission STS-129. "I've been involved with these logistics carriers for the past five years and the payload for the past two, so it will be great to see them installed on orbit and ready to fill their intended role."
Twelve of the 15 large spares were designed, built, or provided by Boeing, and the company processed all of the hardware for this mission under its Checkout, Assembly, and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) contract with NASA. This mission carries more spare parts than any previous mission.
Boeing is the prime contractor to NASA for the ISS. In addition to designing and building all the major U.S. elements, Boeing is also responsible for ensuring the successful integration of any new hardware and software -- including components from international partners -- as well as for providing sustaining engineering work for the ISS.
The services and support that Boeing provides under the 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.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.
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Boeing Space Exploration
Edmund G. Memi
Boeing Space Exploration