May 14, 2010
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., - Boeing [NYSE: BA] has provided critical parts that Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry to the International Space Station (ISS) when the orbiter launches today on the 32nd and final flight of its quarter-century career. The parts include six replacement batteries and a space-to-ground antenna (SGANT) with accompanying boom assembly.
The six batteries will be installed on the ISS' port truss to replace old batteries that Atlantis will bring back to Earth. The batteries provide power while the ISS is in the Earth's shadow for approximately 30 minutes of each 90-minute orbit. The SGANT will increase the ISS's ability to conduct two-way data, voice, and video communications.
"The added SGANT will eventually more than double the station's existing ability to support and monitor activities such as experiments, robotic operations and spacewalks," said Stephen Long, Boeing ISS Communication and Tracking engineer. "This new antenna will allow for the creation of two audio-only channels and an increase in video channels from four to six, and also include a new interface to the station's Large Area Network."
These additional capabilities are important to the station's future operations as crews move from assembling the ISS to fully making use of it for earth sciences and space-based science experiments.
Boeing's Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) team also prepared Atlantis' entire mission payload for launch, including the Russian Mini-Research Module 1 and spare parts for the ISS' Canadian Dextre robotic arm.
The services and support Boeing provides under its 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.
Boeing is the prime contractor to NASA for the ISS. In addition to designing and building all the major U.S. elements, Boeing also is responsible for ensuring the successful integration of new hardware and software -- including components from international partners -- as well as for providing sustaining engineering work.
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Boeing (NYSE:BA), NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration)