Tuesday, February 27, 2001

  • Mr. CRAMER. Mr. Speaker, today I congratulate the NASA employees and contractors at Marshall Space Flight Center for their role in the successful delivery of NASA’s Destiny Laboratory Module, the second of the U.S. pressurized modules, to the International Space Station. I am proud to say that the extremely talented men and women of the Boeing Company built Destiny in my district at the Marshall Space Flight Center. This includes the successful design, development, assembly, integration, and

    testing of Destiny, as well as its delivery to Kennedy Space Center in November 1998.

  • The Destiny Laboratory, the long-awaited centerpiece of the Space Station, will allow the United States and its international partners to perform fundamental science experiments
    around-the-clock in the microgravity environment of space. This state-of-the-art module has a capacity of 24 rack locations, of which 13 are especially designed to support important scientific research. Once these racks arrive on later Shuttle flights, scientists can begin fundamental

    long-term research in space that can help improve the quality of human life back on Earth. Some of the first experiments will focus on the growth of proteins in the absence of the effects of gravity, hopefully leading to a better understanding of the true structure of harmful viruses that

    develop under strong gravitational effects on Earth. The Station will also allow researchers to study how the human body is affected by long-term exposure to the low-gravity environment of space, which is a crucial first step in establishing a human presence elsewhere in our solar system.

  • Mr. Speaker, while Destiny is primarily intended to be the key U.S. science facility on board Station, the addition of this engineering marvel to the current Space Station configuration on-orbit will also expand the Station’s power, life support, and attitude control capabilities. It will enable the transfer of flight control responsibilities from the Russians to NASA personnel, providing command and control capability for NASA’s Mission Control in Houston. The Station had been under Russian

    command and control since the launch of the Russian-built Zarya Module in November 1998. The addition of the Destiny Laboratory, which is 28 feet in length and 14 feet in diameter, will also give Station occupants more habitable space than was available aboard Skylab or Mir.

  • The launch of Destiny now allows NASA to focus on providing other high priority capabilities necessary to complete the ISS. One of these capabilities will be provided by the U.S. Propulsion System, and is necessary to eliminate our dependence on the propulsion systems on board the Russian Service Module and the regular launch of Russian Progress vehicles. It is also time for NASA to aggressively move forward with the U.S. Habitation Module, which would provide safe living quarters for the full

    complement of seven Station inhabitants. This is the module that will provide for the crew and enable a full vigorous science research program to bring about the expected return on the taxpayer’s investment in this unique national resource. Mr. Speaker, the Habitation Module and much of the Propulsion System will be built at the Marshall Space Flight Center by Boeing–the same highly skilled team that also constructed the U.S. Unity node–and therefore I believe they will be in good hands.

  • Mr. Speaker, North Alabama has a long heritage of spacecraft construction, starting with the rockets that placed men in Earth orbit and eventually on the Moon. I am proud to congratulate the world-class Space Station team in North Alabama for continuing this proud heritage of excellence with the development of the Destiny Laboratory Module. I expect it to be one of the highlights of this year’s space program.