A new era in space-based science
will begin when the Space Shuttle Atlantis delivers the U.S. research
laboratory module “Destiny” to the International Space Station (ISS) during
the STS-98 mission later this month.
The Boeing-built laboratory will provide
the first facility for continuous science research aboard the station,
enabling unprecedented experiments to be performed in the near-zero gravity of
space.

Atlantis, with its five-person crew, is scheduled to launch no earlier
than January 19 from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.
The Atlantis
crew will work with the three-man Expedition One team currently in residence
on the ISS — a multinational, permanent, low-Earth-orbiting facility. Sixteen
nations are involved in this largest and most complex international project
ever undertaken.

Destiny will be among a complement of six main research laboratories
available to astronauts.
The other labs are the U.S.-built centrifuge
accommodation module; the European Space Agency laboratory, Columbus; the
Japanese experiment module, Kibo; and two Russian research modules.

Astronauts will work inside the pressurized facility to conduct research
in a variety of scientific disciplines.
Scientists around the world will use
the research results to enhance their studies in medicine, engineering,
biotechnology, physics and materials science.

“Certainly, the research that will be conducted on Destiny will result in
discoveries that benefit humankind,” said Brewster Shaw, Boeing ISS vice
president and general manager.
“We continue to provide more capability for
the ISS crew so they can accomplish the objectives that created the need for
ISS in the first place — science and technology investigations and long-term
space flight.”

Packed inside Destiny are five systems racks that will provide
life-sustaining functions on board, including electrical power, cooling water,
air revitalization and temperature and humidity control.
Each rack weighs
about 1,200 pounds. Six additional systems racks will be flown to Destiny on
the next Shuttle flight, STS-102.
Thirteen racks that will provide platforms
for a variety of scientific experiments will follow on subsequent missions.
Outside of Destiny, an exterior waffle pattern in the aluminum hull of the lab
module provides extra strength.
An insulated debris shield blanket, made of
material similar to that used in bulletproof vests, covers the exterior.
This
blanket is covered by a thin aluminum debris shield, providing additional
protection for the laboratory module’s exposure to the harsh environment of
space.

The 28-foot, 16-ton, state-of-the-art research laboratory was built by
Boeing at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and
shipped to KSC in 1998.
Since that time, a series of tests have been
performed on the lab module at KSC to prepare it for launch into space to join
the other components now comprising the ISS.
Those components include the
Russian FGB module, the U.S. “Unity” connection node module, the Russian
“Zarya” service module, and the U.S. integrated truss structure P-6 power
module.

In addition to delivering and connecting the laboratory module to the
Unity node of the ISS, the STS-98 mission includes activation of the Control
Moment Gyroscopes with delivery of electronics in the lab module, providing
electrically powered attitude control.
Two computers in the Destiny lab will
be dedicated to keeping the space station in proper orientation (attitude) as
it orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes.

Software containing over 300,000 lines of code will monitor and control
the atmospheric and thermal conditioning, fire detection, and other key
systems onboard Destiny.
The Destiny software will also manage power,
thermal, and vacuum services provided to the experimental payloads, as well as
monitor the health and status of each payload.

Physical Description of the “Destiny” Laboratory module:

Material: Aluminum

Length: 8.5 meters (28 feet)

Length with attached Common Berthing Mechanism (CBM): 9.2 meters
(30.2 feet)

Diameter: 4.3 meters (14 feet)

Weight: 14,515 kilograms (32,000 pounds)

Windows: One – 50.9 centimeters (20 inches)

In late October 2000, the three-man Expedition One crew was launched to
the ISS aboard a Russian Proton rocket; they will remain on board until
replaced by the Expedition Two crew — an event tentatively scheduled for
March of this year.

In late November 2000, the STS-97 mission’s five-member crew aboard Space
Shuttle Endeavour delivered an early external active thermal control system, a
temporary cooling system that will provide heat rejection capability for the
Destiny lab module.
That system enables scientific research during the space
station’s early assembly.
Also during the STS-97 mission, a collection of
power system electronics, interconnections and two, 115-foot-long solar arrays
to convert solar energy into electric power were delivered to the ISS.