Ray Castillo September 26, 1995 Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-4555) Doug Ward Johnson Space Center

, Houston, TX (Phone: 713/244-7926) Jim Keller Boeing Defense and Space Group, Huntsville, AL (Phone: 205/461-2803) Release: 95-161 U.S. STRUCTURE FOR INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION COMPLETED The main structure of the U.S. laboratory module -centerpiece of the U.S. hardware for the international Space Station -- has been successfully completed. Astronauts will perform continuous scientific experiments inside the pressure hull of the laboratory. The aluminum module is 28 feet long, 14 feet wide and weighs about 6,000 pounds. It is scheduled to be launched to the international Space Station in November 1998. "This is a major accomplishment for the international Space Station program," said Wil Trafton, Space Station Program Director. "This laboratory module is central to the Space Station's mission. Within this lab, astronaut researchers will carry out scientific experimentation for the benefit of all of us here on Earth." Technicians at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, began welding the lab module in July. It

comprises three cylindrical sections, two bulkheads, or end cones, and contains the hatch openings through which astronauts will enter and exit the lab. The lab's exterior has a "waffle" pattern, which strengthens the hull against the harsh environment of space. A 20-inch diameter window is located on one side of the module's center cylinder. -more-2"I congratulate all the members of the Space Station team on the completion of this piece of space hardware," said Randy Brinkley, Space Station Program Manager. "The manufacturing progressed without any problems and all 3,100 inches of weld were of exceptional quality. This is another major piece of Space Station hardware completed on time." In early November, the lab will be moved to a boring mill where its surfaces will be machined for various functions, including drilling small holes for hatch seals and berthing mechanisms. It later will be covered with a debris-shield blanket, made of a material similar to that used in bullet-proof vests. A thin aluminum debris shield then will be placed over the blanket for added protection. The lab is being built by Boeing Defense and Space Group in Huntsville. Boeing, prime contractor for the Space Station, has hardware in different stages of completion. Both Node 1 and Node 2, the connecting passageways which will link Space Station's other modules, have been welded. Node 1 is now being machined in the boring mill. Node 2 completed machining and is being outfitted with internal equipment. With the laboratory welding complete, the pieces of the Space Station crew quarters, or habitat module, now will be welded together. The habitat module will serve as the 'home away from home' where astronauts will eat and sleep. Habitat module welding will begin in October and be completed in December. Overall, the United States has produced 54,000 pounds of Space Station hardware; by the end of the year, the

United States will have completed nearly 80,000 pounds. Currently, the project's international partners have manufactured over 60,000 pounds of hardware. The first piece of the international Space Station is scheduled to be launched in just over two years, in November 1997. The U.S. Node 1 will be launched one month later. A series of flights over five years will complete the Space Station in June 2002. -endEDITOR'S NOTE: Media representatives wishing to obtain images accompanying this release may call the NASA Headquarters Newsroom Photo Office at 202/358-1900. Color: 95-HC-574 B&W: 95-H-585

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