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STS-104: Home | The Crew | Cargo | Timeline | EVA

International Space Station Assembly Flight 7A

IMAGE: The Joint Airlock
The Joint Airlock.

Cargo Bay Payloads:

Station Joint Airlock
The Joint Airlock is a pressurized flight element consisting of two cylindrical chambers attached end-to-end by a connecting bulkhead and hatch. Once installed and activated, the airlock becomes the primary path for International Space Station space walk entry and departure for U.S. spacesuits, which are known as Extravehicular Mobility Units, or EMUs. In addition, the Joint Airlock is designed to support the Russian Orlan spacesuit for EVA activity.

The Joint Airlock acts as a stowage area for EMU hardware as well as a staging area for crewmembers preparing to conduct a space walk. A combination of the Russian depress pump and pressure equalization valves located within the hatches accommodate the depressurization /pressurization capability of the airlock. The addition of the airlock permits space station-based space walks to be performed without major loss of environmental consumables such as air.

High-Pressure Gas Tanks (HPGT)
Two oxygen and two nitrogen High-Pressure Gas Tanks will be attached externally to the airlock during two of the STS-104 space walks and will be transported to the space station attached to a Space Lab Double Pallet in the orbiter's cargo bay. These tanks provide a replenishable source of gas to the Atmosphere Control and Supply System and 900 psi oxygen for recharging the EMUs Recharging the high pressure tanks is accomplished by the orbiter when it is docked to the station's Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 or Pressurized Mating Adapter 3, using lines that are routed through the pressurized elements. The Oxygen Recharge Compressor Assembly is used to pump oxygen from the shuttle tanks into the high-pressure oxygen tanks on the space station.

IMAX Cargo Bay Camera-3D
The IMAX Cargo Bay Camera-3D payload is a 65 mm color 3-D motion picture camera system. The system consists of a camera, a lens turret assembly, and a film magazine containing approximately 1,646 meters (5,400 feet) of film. The camera system is housed in an insulated pressurized enclosure with a movable lens window cover, and is mounted in the cargo bay on a Get-Away Special beam. The camera system is operated from the Aft Flight Deck with a Payload and General Support Computer. The dc power for heating and camera operation will be supplied by the orbiter. An audio recorder with microphones supplied by the customer will be used in the crew compartment in conjunction with the camera system.

In-cabin Payloads:

EarthKAM is a NASA-sponsored program that enables middle school students to take photographs of the Earth from a camera aboard the space shuttle. During missions, students work collectively and use interactive Web pages to target images and investigate the Earth from the unique perspective of space.

The EarthKAM payload will conduct Earth observations using the Electronic Still Camera, or ESC, installed in the overhead starboard window of the Orbiter Aft Flight Deck. Other than equipment setup, initial camera pointing, and possible camera lens changes, no crew intervention is required for nominal operations.

During the first four missions of EarthKAM, students took more than 2,000 high resolution digital images of the Earth. These photographs included the Himalayas, clouds over the Pacific, volcanoes and the recent forest fires in Indonesia. Students use the images in classroom projects to learn about Earth science, geography, mathematics and space science. They also develop skills of investigation and image analysis while learning how to use the Internet. Before STS-104, students will select a topic of interest such as human settlement patterns, mountain ranges, or agricultural patterns. Using these topics, they define investigations for which they will use the EarthKAM images.

The University of California at San Diego houses the EarthKAM Mission Operations Center. Most participating schools, or groups of schools, establish a Student Mission Operation Center.

SIMPLEX - Shuttle Ionospheric Modification with Pulsed Local Exhaust
The objective of the SIMPLEX activity is to determine the source of Very High Frequency radar echoes caused by the orbiter and its Orbiter Maneuvering System, OMS, engine firings. The principal investigator will use the collected data to examine the effects of orbital kinetic energy on ionospheric irregularities and to understand the processes that take place with the venting of exhaust materials. SIMPLEX sensors may collect data during any encounter opportunity when the orbiter support activities meet the criteria defined. SIMPLEX requires 20 cooperative tests of orbiter thruster firings on multiple flights. The SIMPLEX payload has no flight hardware; Orbiter OMS thruster firings will be used to create ionospheric disturbances for observation by the SIMPLEX radars.

What is a payload?
IMAGE: Shuttle payload bay
The formal designation as a "payload" indicates that the experiment will be accorded top priority in crew time and energies during the entire flight, along with all other experiments carrying the same "payload" designation.
Related Links
*STS-104 KSC Electronic Photo File
*Payload Overview (Shuttle Presskit)

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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