Aeronautics and Space Report of the President FY 1995 Activities


Space Flight and Space Technology

International Space Station

During FY 1995, engineers accomplished many of the 1993 Space Station redesign goals on the revamped International Space Station program. NASA personnel solidified their "core team" management philosophy with the definitization of the $5.63 billion design and development contract with the prime contractor, Boeing. The collocation of Boeing in the ISS Program Office represented a new way of doing business at NASA, yielding significant decision-making authority to the contractor.

In March 1995, the International Space Station program successfully completed the first in a series of incremental design reviews. This review was a comprehensive assessment of the design and technical feasibility for the first six American and the first five Russian International Space Station assembly flights and a forward planning review of all assembly flights. In April 1995, NASA held a major design review for the Functional Cargo Block (FGB), which certified readiness to proceed with the manufacture of this important first element of the International Space Station. The FGB will provide propulsion, guidance, and control in the early stages of the Station, and then will serve as a fuel and equipment storage facility in the later stages. Also in FY 1995, the program completed the final major design review of the solar dynamic flight demonstration for fundamentally new power technologies.

Contractors have delivered more than 70,000 pounds of International Space Station qualification and flight hardware. Fabrication of the first U.S. element (Node 1), the Structural Test Article (Node 2), and the U.S. lab module have been completed. The contractor also completed machining of the two nodes and nearly completed machining of the U.S. lab module at the end of FY 1995. Contractors delivered a wide variety of components, including the solar array mast and panels, the thermal radiator rotary joint mockup, truss segments, common berthing mechanism simulators, demultiplexers, rack structure assemblies, and hatch assemblies.

Throughout the fiscal year, development programs continued in other partner countries as well. The Canadian government, after resolving difficult budget limitations in 1994, continued its development program for the mobile servicing system, which will provide external ISS robotics. Japan has continued to remain on schedule in developing the Japanese Experiment Module, consisting of a multipurpose pressurized laboratory element, an unpressurized exposed facility, a remote manipulator (robotic) system, and experiment logistics modules. In Europe, the nine nations involved in the International Space Station program continued discussions on both the content and individual country financial contributions for the program. By the end of the fiscal year, European space and research ministers were poised to give the final approval for a European contribution consisting of a pressurized laboratory called the Columbus Orbital Facility laboratory support equipment for early use in the U.S. laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which will be used in conjunction with the Ariane 5 launch vehicle for delivery of logistics and propellant for Station reboost. In August 1995, while already working on the FGB, Russia's Khrunichev Enterprise and the Boeing Company reached a formal agreement on a contract for the development, launch, and on-orbit checkout of the FGB.

While ISS development work continued, the Shuttle-Mir program (Phase I ISS) was proceeding on schedule to meet its objectives of providing operational experience, Station risk mitigation, technology demonstrations, and early science opportunities. Major milestones achieved during the year included the flight of a second Russian cosmonaut, Vladimir Titov, on the Space Shuttle in February 1995. During that mission, Russian and American space and ground crews operated jointly for the first time in more than two decades as the Shuttle approached to within 10 meters of the Mir space station. In March 1995, a Soyuz TM-21 vehicle was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, carrying the Mir 18 crew, including U.S. astronaut Dr. Norman Thagard, to the Mir space station. Dr. Thagard's 115 days aboard Mir provided the first long-duration medical data on an American astronaut since the Skylab mission during the 1970's. Also in May 1995, the Russian Spektr module, carrying 750 kilograms of U.S. life sciences hardware, was launched to the Mir space station. In June 1995, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made the historic first rendezvous and docking with the Mir. While the vehicles were docked, the crew of Atlantis, consisting of five astronauts and two cosmonauts, and the Mir 18 crew conducted experiments similar to those planned for the International Space Station. After 5 days of docked operations, Atlantis departed, leaving two new cosmonauts aboard Mir and returning the Mir 18 crew to KSC.

In the area of microgravity research for the International Space Station, NASA, in consultation with prospective users in the scientific community, continued to design and prepare a series of seven major laboratory facilities and a glovebox facility. In July 1995, NASA released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the centrifuge facility, and a selection decision was planned for the first quarter of FY 1996. NASA conducted a successful preliminary design review for the ISS furnace facility early in 1995 and made considerable progress in design/development activities. In May 1995, the Fluids and Combustion Facility entered its definition phase for multi-user hardware development for experiments in fluid physics and combustion science. Low Temperature Research Facility definition activities began in 1995.

In the commercialization arena, NASA's commercial Space Station utilization program selected four areas of effort for space processing payloads for Phase I Shuttle-Mir flights. These activities involve industry, university, and Government partnerships accomplished through the Centers for the Commercial Development of Space.


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Curator: Lillian Gipson
Last Updated: September 5, 1996
For more information contact Steve Garber, NASA History Office,
sgarber@hq.nasa.gov