On Sept. 24, 1973, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the European Space Agency, formerly known as the European Space Research Organization, and NASA with NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center as lead center for ESA to design and develop Spacelab.
Spacelab is developed on a modular basis and can be varied to meet specific mission requirements. Its four principal components are the pressurized module, which contains a laboratory with a shirt-sleeve working environment; one or more open pallets that expose materials and equipment to space; a tunnel to gain access to the module; and an instrument pointing subsystem. Spacelab is not deployed free of the orbiter.
ESA had 11 member nations at the time of Spacelab development: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and West Germany. All except Sweden participated in the Spacelab program.
An industrial consortium headed by ERNO-VFW Fokker (Zentralgesellschoft VFW-Fokker mbh) was named by ESA in June 1974 to build the pressurized modules. Five 10-foot-long, unpressurized, U-shaped pallet segments were built by the British Aerospace Corporation under contract to ERNO-VFW Fokker. The IPS is built by Dornier.
NASA astronauts called mission specialists, as well as non-career astronauts called payload specialists, fly aboard Spacelab to operate experiments. Payload specialists are nominated by the scientists sponsoring the experiments aboard Spacelab. They are accepted, trained and certified for flight by NASA. Their training includes familiarization with experiments and payloads as well as information and procedures to fly aboard the space shuttle. From one to four payload specialists can be accommodated for a Spacelab flight. These specialists ride into space and return to Earth in the orbiter crew compartment cabin, but they work with Spacelab on orbit. Because Spacelab missions, once on orbit, may operate on a 24-hour basis, the flight crew is usually divided into two teams.
The pressurized module, or laboratory, is available in two segments. One, called the core segment, contains supporting systems, such as data processing equipment and utilities for the pressurized modules and pallets (if pallets are used in conjunction with the pressurized modules). The laboratory has fixtures, such as floor-mounted racks and a workbench. The second, called the experiment segment, provides more working laboratory space and contains only floor-mounted racks. When only one segment is needed, the core segment is used. Each pressurized segment is a cylinder 13.5 feet in outside diameter and 9 feet long. When both segments are assembled with end cones, their maximum outside length is 23 feet.
The pressurized segment or segments are structurally attached to the orbiter payload bay by four attach fittings consisting of three longeron fitting sets (two primary and one stabilizing) and one keel fitting. The segment or segments are covered with passive thermal control insulation.
The ceiling skin panel of each segment contains a 51.2-inch-diameter opening for mounting a viewport adapter assembly, a Spacelab window adapter assembly or scientific airlock; if none of these items are used, the openings are closed with cover plates that are bolted in place. The module shell is made from 2219-T851 aluminum plate panels. Eight rolled integral-machined waffle patterns are butt-welded together to form the shell of each module segment. The shell thickness ranges from 0.6 of an inch to 0.14 of an inch. Rings machined from aluminum-roll ring forgings are butt-welded to the skin panels at the end of each shell. Each ring is 20 inches long and 195.8 inches in diameter at the outer skin line. Forward and aft cones bolted to the cylinder segments consist of six aluminum skin panels machined from 2219-T851 aluminum plate and butt-welded to each other and to the two end rings. The end rings are machined from aluminum-roll ring forgings. The end cones are 30.8-inch-long truncated cones whose large end is 161.9 inches in outside diameter and whose small end is 51.2 inches in outside diameter. Each cone has three 16.4-inch-diameter cutouts: two located at the bottom of the cone and one at the top. Feedthrough plates for routing utility cables and lines can be installed in the lower cutouts of both end cones. The Spacelab viewport assembly can be installed in the upper cutout of the aft end cone, and the upper cutout of the forward end cone is for the pressurized module vent and relief valves. The pressurized modules are designed for a lifetime of 50 missions. Nominal mission duration is seven days.
Because of the orbiter's center-of-gravity conditions, the Spacelab pressurized module or modules cannot be installed at the forward end of the payload bay. Therefore, a pressurized tunnel is provided for equipment and crew transfer between the orbiter's pressurized crew compartment and the Spacelab pressurized module or modules. The transfer tunnel is a cylindrical structure with an internal unobstructed diameter of 40 inches. The cylinder is assembled in sections to allow length adjustment for different module configurations. Two tunnel lengths can be used-a long tunnel of 18.88 feet and a short tunnel of 8.72 feet. The joggle section of the tunnel compensates for the 42.1-inch vertical offset of the orbiter middeck to the Spacelab pressurized module's centerline. There are flexible sections on each end of the tunnel near the orbiter and Spacelab interfaces. The tunnel is built by McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company, Huntington Beach, Calif.
The airlock in the middeck of the orbiter, the tunnel adapter, hatches, the tunnel extension and the tunnel itself permit the flight crew members to transfer from the orbiter middeck to the Spacelab pressurized module or modules in a pressurized shirt-sleeve environment. The airlock, tunnel adapter, tunnel and Spacelab pressurized module or modules are at ambient pressure before launch. In addition, the middeck airlock, tunnel adapter and hatches permit crew members outfitted for extravehicular activity to transfer from the airlock/tunnel adapter in space suits to the payload bay without depressurizing the orbiter crew compartment and Spacelab module or modules. If an EVA is required, no flight crew members are permitted in the Spacelab tunnel or module.
Some research to be accomplished on Spacelab missions requires that instruments be pointed with very high accuracy and stability at stars, the sun, the Earth or other targets of observation. The IPS provides precision pointing for a wide range of payloads, including large single instruments or a cluster of instruments or a single small-rocket-class instrument. The pointing mechanism can accommodate instruments of diverse sizes and weights (up to 15,432 pounds) and can point them to within 2 arc seconds and hold them on target to within 1.2 arc seconds.
The IPS consists of a three-axis gimbal system mounted on a gimbal support structure connected to the pallet at one end and to the aft end of a payload at the other, a payload clamping system to support the mounted experiment elements during launch and landing, and a control system based on the inertial reference of a three-axis gyro package and operated by a gimbal-mounted minicomputer.
The basic structural hardware is the gimbal system, which includes three bearing/drive units, a payload/gimbal separation mechanism, a replaceable extension column, an emergency jettisoning device, a support structure and rails, and a thermal control system. The gimbal structure itself is minimal, consisting only of a yoke, an inner gimbal and an outer gimbal to which the payload is attached by the payload-mounted integration ring.
The three identical drive units are so arranged that their axes intersect at one point. From pallet to payload, the order of the axes is elevation, cross-elevation and azimuth. Each drive assembly includes three wet-lubricated ball bearings, two brushless dc-torquers and two single-speed/multispeed resolvers.
The gimbal/payload separation mechanism is located between the outer gimbal and the payload integration ring. This device prevents the payload and the pointing mechanism from exerting excessive loads on each other during launch and landing. For orbital operations, the outer gimbal and integration ring are pulled together and locked.
The operating modes of the different scientific investigations vary considerably. Some require manual control capability, others long periods of pointing at a single object, others slow scan mapping, still others high angular rates and accelerations. Performance in all these modes requires flexibility, which is achieved by computer software. The IPS is controlled through the Spacelab subsystem computer and a data display unit and keyboard. It can be operated either automatically or by the Spacelab crew from the pressurized module and also from the payload station on the orbiter aft flight deck.
The IPS has two operating modes, which depend on whether the gimbal resolver or gyro is used for feedback control of attitude. An optical sensor package consisting of one boresighted fixed-head star tracker and two skewed fixed-head star trackers is used for attitude correction and also for configuring the IPS for solar, stellar, or Earth viewing.
Each pallet is more than a platform for mounting instrumentation; with an igloo attached, it can also cool equipment, provide electrical power and furnish connections for commanding and acquiring data from experiments. When only pallets are used, the Spacelab pallet portions of essential systems required for supporting experiments (power, experiment control, data handling, communications, etc.) are protected in a pressurized, temperature-controlled igloo housing.
The pallets are designed for large instruments, experiments requiring direct exposure to space or systems needing unobstructed or broad fields of view, such as telescopes, antennas and sensors (e.g., radiometers and radars). The U-shaped pallets are covered with aluminum honeycomb panels. A series of hard points attached to the main pallet structure is provided for mounting heavy payload equipment. Up to five segments can be flown on a single mission. Each pallet train is held in place in the payload bay by a set of five attach fittings, four longeron sill fittings and one keel fitting. Pallet-to-pallet joints are used to connect the pallets to form a single rigid structure called a pallet train. Twelve joints are used to connect two pallets.
Cable ducts and cable support trays can be bolted to the forward and aft frame of each pallet to support and route electrical cables to and from the experiments and subsystem equipment mounted on the pallet. All ducts mounted on the starboard (right) side of the pallet are used to route subsystem cables, and all ducts on the port (left) side carry experiment utility cables. The ducts and cable trays are made of aluminum alloy sheet metal. In addition to basic utilities, some special accommodations are available for pallet-mounted experiments.
The igloo is attached vertically to the forward end frame of the first pallet. Its outer dimensions are approximately 7.9 feet in height and 3.6 feet in diameter. The igloo is a closed cylindrical shell made of aluminum alloy. A removable cover allows full access to the interior. The igloo houses subsystems and equipment in a pressurized, dry-air environment at sea-level atmospheric pressure (14.7 psia). Two feedthrough plates accommodate utility lines and a pressure relief valve. The igloo is covered with multilayer insulation.
The Spacelab electrical power distribution subsystem controls and distributes main, essential and emergency dc and ac power to Spacelab subsystems and experiment equipment. Orbiter fuel cell power plants 2 and 3 provide dc power to orbiter main buses B and C, respectively. In addition, through the orbiter main bus tie system (managed and controlled from orbiter display and control panels R1 and F9), dc power is distributed from orbiter main bus C to the orbiter primary payload 1 bus and the Spacelab power control box through four (redundant) main dc power feeders. The orbiter electrical power distribution system is capable of distributing 7 kilowatts maximum continuous (12 kilowatts peak) power to Spacelab subsystems and experiments during on-orbit phases. This is equivalent to supplying 14 average homes with electrical power. If a single fuel cell fails on orbit, the system remains operational with a maximum power level of 5 kilowatts continuous and 8 kilowatts peak.
The primary dc power received in the Spacelab from the orbiter primary payload bus is nominally 28 volts, a maximum of 32 volts and a worst-case minimum of 23 volts. The four redundant power feeders from the orbiter supply the Spacelab power control box with power through 125-amp fuses. Spacelab main bus voltage and current readings are available on orbiter CRT Spacelab displays. For the igloo/pallet configuration, the main bus dc voltage and amperage are also available to the flight crew from the EPDS volts/amps digital meter and rotary switch on panel R7 at the orbiter crew compartment aft flight deck mission specialist station. The Spacelab power control box is installed in the subfloor of the Spacelab pressurized core segment and in the igloo of the pallet-only configuration.
In the Spacelab pressurized module configuration, the main dc voltage and amperage are available in the pressurized module on the control center rack EPDS monitoring and control panel. The voltage reading is obtained by setting the volts rotary switch on the EPDS MCP to the main dc position, and the amperage reading is obtained by setting the amps rotary switch to the main dc position. The meters on the EPDS MCP panel have only colored zones to indicate nominal (green) or off-nominal (red) readings. The amp readout for main dc power has an additional color field (yellow) to indicate a peak power loading condition.
In the pressurized module configuration, the EPDS MCP provides a manually operated orb PRI PL bus disconnect switch, which acts as a kill-power switch for the main dc power to the module. When this switch is positioned momentarily to the disconnect position, all Spacelab subsystem functions supplied by normal dc and ac power cease to operate, and the Spacelab water pump, Freon pump and avionics delta pressure caution channels are activated.
The Spacelab subsystem power distribution box distributes the subsystem dc bus and ac bus power into subsystem-dedicated feeders. In the pressurized module configuration, all outputs except the tunnel and environmental control subsystem ac and experiment ac outputs are remotely switched by latching relays. Power protection circuits and command activation are controlled by the remote amplification and advisory box. In the subsystem power distribution box, the dc power line feeds several subsystem power buses controlled by switches on the electrical power distribution subsystem monitoring and control panel. In the pallet-only configuration, all outputs are remotely switched by latching relays.
Various Spacelab systems' operations are controlled on orbit from panel R7 in the orbiter crew compartment aft flight station. In either the pallet-only or pressurized module configuration, Spacelab power protection circuits and command activation are controlled from the remote amplification and advisory box. The subsystem power distribution box is controlled by the S/S ac/dc power on/off switch on the orbiter aft flight deck panel R7 or by an item command on several orbiter CRT Spacelab displays. The status of this switch on panel R7 is displayed on the orbiter CRT and indicated by a green LED above the manual switch on panel R7. The voltages and currents of the various Spacelab subsystem buses are also available to the flight crew on the orbiter CRT Spacelab subsystem power display.
The dc power in the Spacelab power control box is directed through two parallel 150-amp fuses, one to the Spacelab subsystem dc/ac inverter and the other to a Spacelab experiment dc/ac inverter. Normally, only the subsystem inverter is used to power both subsystem and experiment ac requirements, and the experiment inverter is used as a backup. Each inverter generates three-phase ac power at 117/203 volts, 400 hertz. It is possible to connect the ac experiment bus to the subsystem inverter and, conversely, the subsystem ac bus to the experiment inverter.
In the Spacelab pressurized module configuration, the inverters are mounted on cold plates in the control center rack of the core segment. In the pallet-only configuration, the inverters are mounted on cold plates on the first (forward) pallet in the orbiter payload bay.
The Spacelab subsystem inverter is activated by the S/S inv on/off switch on panel R7 or by orbiter Spacelab CRT command. Positioning the switch to on activates the subsystem inverter, and a green LED above the switch on panel R7 is illuminated, indicating the inverter is operating. Positioning the momentary left S/S inv , exp inv switch to S/S inv permits the subsystem inverter to supply ac power to the Spacelab subsystem ac bus. Similarly, positioning the momentary right S/S inv, exp inv switch to S/S inv supplies ac power to the experiment ac bus, and the yellow light below the switch is illuminated to indicate the subsystem inverter is supplying the experiment ac bus.
The Spacelab experiment inverter is activated by the exp inv on/off switch on panel R7 or by orbiter Spacelab CRT command. Positioning the switch to on activates the experiment inverter, and a green LED light above the switch is illuminated, indicating the inverter is in operation. Positioning the momentary right exp inv , S/S inv switch to exp inv supplies ac power to the experiment ac bus. Positioning the momentary left S/S inv , exp inv switch to exp inv supplies ac power to the subsystem ac bus, and the yellow light below the switch is illuminated to indicate the experiment inverter is supplying the subsystem ac bus.
The switching of Spacelab inverters between the two ac power buses may also be commanded and monitored through the orbiter CRT Spacelab subsystem ac power supply. Readings presented on the orbiter CRT display include inverter on/off status, inverter output voltage, inverter input voltage and inverter output current. The subsystem inverter input, experiment inverter input and main dc amps are available via the digital readout and rotary switch on panel R7. The main dc and subsystem ac bus phase A, B and C volts also are available via the digital readout and rotary switch on panel R7. In the Spacelab pressurized module configuration, the Spacelab EPDS monitoring and control panel provides a color readout of each subsystem ac phase.
The Spacelab inverters are protected against overvoltage and overcurrent. They are shut down automatically if the voltage exceeds 136 volts root mean square per phase. Current levels are limited to 12 amps rms per phase, and all three phases are shut down if one phase draws a current of 10 amps rms for 120 seconds.
In the pressurized module configuration, the subsystem power distribution box ac bus feeds several Spacelab subsystem power buses controlled by switches on the Spacelab EPDS MCP. All functions on this panel can be initiated simultaneously by the S/S ac/dc power on/off switch on orbiter panel R7 or by item commands from the orbiter CRT Spacelab displays. The status of the commanded relays is available via orbiter CRT Spacelab displays and indicated by the green LED light above the respective switch on panel R7.
In the pallet-only configuration, subsystem ac bus power feeds several Spacelab subsystems' power buses, which can be initiated by the S/S ac/dc power on/off switch on orbiter panel R7 or by item commands from the orbiter CRT Spacelab displays. The status of the commanded relays is available via orbiter CRT Spacelab displays and the green LED light above the respective switches on panel R7.
Emergency and essential dc power for the pressurized module configuration is provided by the orbiter auxiliary payload buses A and B to the Spacelab emergency box. The Spacelab emergency box supplies emergency and essential power for Spacelab critical environmental control subsystem sensors and valves, fire and smoke suppression equipment, ECS water line heaters, module emergency lighting, tunnel emergency lighting, the Spacelab intercom system and the Spacelab caution and warning panel. The outputs are protected by fuses. One separately fused outlet, an experiment essential bus, is dedicated to experiments. This power is available during all flight phases and when degraded power is delivered to Spacelab. The Spacelab emergency box is located in the subfloor of the core segment.
Emergency and essential dc power for the pallet-only configuration is also provided by orbiter auxiliary payload buses A and B, which send dc power to the Spacelab emergency box located in the igloo. The Spacelab emergency box provides emergency or essential power to Spacelab subsystem equipment. The outputs are protected by fuses. One separately fused outlet, an experiment essential bus, is dedicated to experiments. The Spacelab emergency box is in the igloo. This power is available during all flight phases and when degraded power is delivered to Spacelab.
In the Spacelab pressurized module configuration, experiment power distribution boxes provide distribution, control and monitoring facilities for the experiment electrical power distribution system, which consists of a nominal redundant 28-volt experiment main dc supply and a 115-volt, 400-hertz ac experiment supply. One distribution box (EPDB 1) is located under the core segment floor on a support structure; for the long module configuration, two additional units (EPDBs 2 and 3) are installed. In the pallet-only configuration, the experiment power distribution box is mounted with other assemblies with an adapter plate on a cold plate that is fitted on a support structure and attached to the pallet.
The orbiter pressurized module CRT Spacelab displays present emergency and essential bus current, voltages for auxiliary buses A and B, output voltages for Spacelab subsystem emergency buses, output voltage for the Spacelab subsystem essential bus and output voltage for the Spacelab remote amplification and advisory box essential bus. The orbiter CRT Spacelab displays for activation/deactivation, subsystem dc power and system summary indicate an undervoltage condition for auxiliary buses A and B. Nominal auxiliary bus amperage from the orbiter can be monitored on the amps meter (color zone only) of the Spacelab EPDS monitoring and control panel.
In the pallet-only configuration, the orbiter CRT Spacelab displays include emergency and essential bus current, voltages for auxiliary buses A and B, output voltages for Spacelab subsystem emergency buses, output voltage for the Spacelab subsystem essential bus and output voltage for the Spacelab remote amplification and advisory box essential bus. The orbiter CRT Spacelab activate/deactivate, Spacelab subsystem dc power and Spacelab system summary displays will indicate an undervoltage condition for auxiliary buses A and B.
The Spacelab power distribution box at the orbiter aft flight deck payload station distributes dc and ac power to the Spacelab subsystem remote acquisition unit and the Spacelab data display system (a data display unit and keyboard). When a Spacelab data display system is installed at the mission station, ac power is provided from orbiter ac bus 2 or 3 via the orbiter mission station distribution panel.
Spacelab subsystem remote acquisition unit dc power comes from orbiter fuel cell 1 main bus A through auxiliary payload bus A and from orbiter fuel cell 2 main bus B to auxiliary payload bus B through the payload station distribution panel. This power is not affected by the kill switch of the primary payload bus. The aft flight deck power distribution panel L14 S/S RAU power 1 on/off and S/S RAU power 2 on/off circuit breakers are used to feed power to the RAU from either bus.
Control of the ac power supplied to the Spacelab DDU and keyboard from orbiter ac buses 2 and 3 is made possible by positioning the panel L14 DDU power switch to AC2 or AC3 . This 115-volt ac, three-phase, 400-hertz power is available only during on-orbit flight phases. Panel L14 provides no fuse protection.
In the pallet-only configuration, ac power is supplied to the Spacelab pallet or pallets from orbiter ac buses 2 and 3 by positioning the panel L14 DDU power switch to AC2 or AC3 . This power (115 volts ac, three phase, 400 hertz) is available only during on-orbit flight phases.
In the Spacelab module, the experiment power switching panel provides facilities for branching and switching dc and ac power delivered by a dedicated experiment power control box. The dc and ac output is distributed to experiments and experiment-supporting RAUs (dc only). The number of switching panels and their locations depend on the mission configuration.
The orbiter crew compartment aft flight deck panel configurations vary for Spacelab pressurized module configurations and pallet-only configurations. A Spacelab pressurized module configuration may consist of a payload specialist station data display unit at panel L11, a standard switch panel at panel L12, a keyboard at panel L11, a systems management tone generator and interconnect station at panel L14, a mission specialist station with a data display system and interconnect station at panel R14, and a floor-mounted remote acquisition unit at the payload station.
A pallet-only configuration may consist of a payload specialist station data display system at panel L11, a Spacelab-unique switch panel at panel L12, a video tape recorder at panel R11, a high-data-rate recorder at panel L10, a systems management tone generator and interconnect station at panel L14, a Spacelab power distribution box at panel L14, and a floor-mounted Spacelab RAU at the payload station.
The Spacelab command and data management system provides a variety of services to Spacelab experiments and subsystems. Most of the CDMS commands are carried out through the use of the computerized system aboard Spacelab, called the data processing assembly. The DPA formats telemetry data and transfers the information to the orbiter for transmission, receives command data from the orbiter and distributes them to Spacelab subsystems, transfers data from the orbiter to experiments, and distributes timing signals from the orbiter to experiments.
The CDMS includes three identical computers and assorted peripherals. One computer is dedicated to Spacelab experiments, one supports Spacelab subsystems, and the third is a backup. The flight crew monitors and operates Spacelab subsystems and payload experiments through data display and keyboard units. The three identical MATRA 125/MS computers have a main memory capacity of 64K 16-bit words. These three computers will eventually be changed to the upgraded AP-101SL orbiter computers. The experiment computer activates, controls and monitors payload operations and provides experiment data acquisition and handling. The subsystem computer provides control and data management for basic Spacelab services that are available to support experiments, such as electrical power distribution, equipment cooling and scientific airlock operations (in the case of the pressurized module). The backup computer can function in the place of either computer.
An input/output unit buffers all communications between the computer and the rest of the subsystem. The experiment computer also has at least one RAU (and as many as eight, depending on the payload) for interfacing between experiments and the subsystem. The subsystem computer may have as many as nine acquisition units, depending on the Spacelab configuration.
The experiment and subsystem computers and their associated input/output units, as well as the shared mass memory unit and backup computer, are located in the workbench rack of the pressurized module core segment. In the pallet-only configuration, they are located in the igloo.
The MMU is a tape recorder that contains all of the operating system and applications software for the subsystem and experiment computers. The memory unit provides the initial program load for the Spacelab subsystem, experiment and backup computers; it can also be used to completely reload computer memory if required. The MMU stores various files, time lines and displays. Writing onto the unit during flight is possible. Approximately half of the unit's storage capability is available for software and data supporting Spacelab experiments.
The data display systems are the primary onboard interface between the CDMS and the Spacelab flight crew. Each display system consists of a keyboard and a CRT data display unit. One display is located at the orbiter aft flight deck station, one at the control center rack in the pressurized module and, possibly, one at the experiment rack in the pressurized module. In the pallet-only configuration, two CRTs and DDUs can be located at the crew compartment aft flight deck station.
The keyboard consists of 25 function keys and 43 alphabet, numeral, punctuation and symbol keys of the familiar standard typewriter keyboard as well as the standard typewriter action keys, such as space and backspace. The data display unit is a 12-inch diagonal CRT screen providing a 22-line display (47 characters per line) in three colors (green, yellow and red). In addition to 128 alphanumeric symbols, the unit can also display vector graphics (1,024 different lengths and 4,096 angles). A high-intensity green flashing mode is also provided.
The display units are connected to the experiment and subsystem input/output units. Each data display unit can present information from both computers simultaneously, and each keyboard can communicate with either computer. Flight crew members can call various displays onto the screen from the keyboard for experiment evaluation and control.
Command and data management system software consists of experiment computer software and subsystem computer software, each of which includes operating systems and applications. Within the experiment computer both the operating system and the application software are wholly dedicated to the direct support of Spacelab payload experiments. The operating system provides such general services as activation, control, monitoring and deactivation of experiments as well as experiment data acquisition, display and formatting for transmission. Application software is developed for experiments that have data handling requirements beyond the capabilities of the operating system.
The subsystem computer functions mainly to monitor and control other Spacelab subsystems and equipment, such as the electrical power distribution subsystem and the environmental control subsystem. These functions are performed by the subsystem computer operating software.
Two orbiter payload multiplexers/demultiplexers (PF1 and PF2) are used for data communications between the orbiter general-purpose computers and the Spacelab CDMS computers. The payload MDMs are under orbiter GPC control. The orbiter pulse code modulation master units under control of the orbiter computers can access Spacelab data for performance monitoring and limit sensing. The PCMMUs contain a fetch command sequence and a random-access memory for storing fetched data. Data from the PCMMU RAM are combined with orbiter pulse code modulation data and sent to the orbiter network signal processors for transmission on the return link (previously referred to as downlink) through S-band or Ku-band. The 192-kbps data stream normally carries 64 kbps of Spacelab experiment and subsystem data.
The Spacelab experiment computer interfaces with two telemetry systems. The orbiter PCMMU allows the orbiter to acquire data for onboard monitoring of systems and provides the Mission Control Center in Houston with system performance data for real-time display and recording through the orbiter network signal processor and S-band or Ku-band. The other telemetry system, the Spacelab high-rate multiplexer, is a high-rate link to the Ku-band signal processors that sends scientific data to the Payload Operations Control Center for real-time display and to the Goddard Space Flight Center for recording.
Spacelab high-rate data acquisition is provided by a high-rate multiplexer and a high-data-rate recorder. The HRM multiplexes up to 16 experiment channels, each with a maximum of 16 Mbps, two direct-access channels with data rates up to 50 Mbps, data from the Spacelab subsystem computer, experiment data from the Spacelab experiment computer, and up to three analog voice channels from the Spacelab intercom master station in the pressurized module configuration. The three digitized channels are premultiplexed onto a single 128-kbps channel for interleaving in the format along with Greenwich Mean Time signals from the orbiter master timing unit. This composite output data steam is routed to the Ku-band signal processor for transmission on Ku-band or is sent to one of the two recorders. The HRM is located on the control center rack in the pressurized module and in the igloo for the pallet-only configuration.
In the pressurized module, the high-data-rate recorder is located at the control center rack next to the data display system; in the pallet-only configuration, it is at the aft flight deck panel L10. It records real-time, multiplexed data or data from two direct-access channels and stores the information at rates from 1 to 32 Mbps during mission periods with no downlink capability or degraded downlink capability for playback when the capability is available. The HDRR dumps in reverse order at 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24 or 32 Mbps. At a rate of 32 Mbps, a tape runs for 20 minutes. The recorder can be changed manually by the flight crew; however, no tape changes are planned because the time required to change tapes is very long and it is much more efficient to dump the tape.
The orbiter payload recorder serves as a backup for the Spacelab HDRR for data rates from 0.125 to 1 Mbps and can record only real-time, multiplexed data. The orbiter payload timing buffer provides mission elapsed time and Greenwich Mean Time; and the master timing unit provides 100-hertz, 1-kHz, 1,024-kHz and 4,608-kHz timing signals to the Spacelab data processing assembly. Activation of the Spacelab DPA is controlled and monitored from the orbiter CRT Spacelab displays.
The Spacelab pressurized module video system interfaces with the orbiter closed-circuit television system and the orbiter Ku-band signal processor. The orbiter CCTV system accepts three video inputs from the Spacelab system. The orbiter monitors the TV received and/or transmits it to telemetry. A sync command signal provided by the orbiter synchronizes and remotely controls cameras within Spacelab. The orbiter also has one video output for a Spacelab TV monitor. The Spacelab accommodates a video switching unit that enables Spacelab video recorder capability. The Spacelab analog channel for experiments is directed to the orbiter Ku-band signal processor at 3 to 4.5 MHz.
In the pallet-only configuration, the orbiter's CCTV can be used along with a video tape recorder. The TV cameras installed in the payload bay vary according to mission requirements. Television data downlinked on Ku-band channel 3 are time-shared by the orbiter's CCTV system, the Spacelab TV/analog output and the Spacelab high-rate multiplexer data.
The Spacelab intercom master station interfaces with the orbiter audio central control unit and the orbiter EVA/ATC transceiver for communications through orbiter duplex (simultaneous talk and listen) audio channels. Audio channel 1 is air-to-ground 2, channel 2 is intercom B, and channel 3 is air-to- ground 1.
Each orbiter channel, with the exception of page, may be selected on each of the three Spacelab full-duplex channels- A/G 1 for the Payload Operations Control Center, Spacelab and A/G 2 for the orbiter/Mission Control Center-using rotary switches on the Spacelab intercom master station. The page channel is used for general address and calling purposes. Page signals can originate in the orbiter, the Spacelab or in both.
Access to orbiter channels is controlled within the orbiter. Normal voice recordings are made on the orbiter operations recorders. The Spacelab talk and listen lines are combined for distribution to the Spacelab voice digitizer in the Spacelab high-rate multiplexer for all three Spacelab channels.
The Spacelab environmental control subsystem consists of the atmosphere storage and control subsystem and the atmosphere revitalization system.
The atmosphere storage and control subsystem receives gaseous oxygen from the orbiter power reactant storage and distribution system and gaseous nitrogen from a tank located on the Spacelab module's exterior. The Spacelab ASCS regulates the gaseous oxygen and nitrogen pressure and flow rates to provide a shirt-sleeve environment for the Spacelab module compatible with the orbiter cabin atmosphere.
Gaseous oxygen from the orbiter PRSD enters the Spacelab module through the upper feedthrough in the Spacelab forward end cone at 100 psi and a maximum flow rate of 14 pounds per hour. A motor-controlled valve in the Spacelab module controls the flow of gaseous oxygen. This valve, operated by Spacelab RAU commands, opens when the O 2 supply valve switch on panel R7 is in the cmd enable position. It closes when the switch is in the close position for such situations as contingency cabin atmosphere dump. A yellow LED above the switch on panel R7 is illuminated to indicate that the valve is closed. The oxygen supply valve receives 28 volts from the Spacelab emergency bus.
The Spacelab cabin depressurization assembly is primarily for contingency dump of Spacelab cabin atmosphere in case of fire that cannot be handled by the Spacelab fire suppression system. It consists of a vent with two filters, a manual shutoff valve and a motor-driven shutoff valve. The motor-driven shutoff valve is powered by the Spacelab environmental control subsystem emergency bus and controlled by the cabin depress valve open/close switch, a cabin depress arm/safe switch and valve status LEDs on orbiter panel R7. The cabin depress arm switch arms the Spacelab cabin depressurization motor-driven valve; and when the cabin depress valve switch is positioned to open, the Spacelab cabin depressurization assembly in the Spacelab forward end cone opens, depressurizing the Spacelab module at 0.4 pound per second. The red LED above the switch on panel R7 is illuminated to indicate that the motor-operated depressurization valve is fully open. The yellow LED above the switch on panel R7 is illuminated to indicate that the Spacelab cabin depressurization valve is not closed when the cabin depress switch is in arm and the cabin depress valve switch is in the closed position.
Air in the Spacelab avionics air loop is circulated by one of two dual-redundant fans, with check valves to prevent recirculation through the inactive fan and a filter upstream to protect both fans. For ascent and descent flight phases, as well as low-power modes on orbit, the avionics fans operate when only a few experiments are operating and require cooling.
The fans are designed to switch from four-pole to eight-pole operation. The air flow through one fan is reduced from 1,923 to 639 pounds per hour, and the power is reduced from 643 to 110 watts. The two fans, powered by separate 115-volt ac buses, are activated and deactivated at low speed (eight-pole) by the avionics fan 1/2 low speed/off switches on orbiter panel R7. Each switch has a yellow LED that is illuminated above the respective switch to indicate that the respective fan is activated. The fans' on/off status is also available on orbiter CRT displays and the Spacelab DDU avionics power/cooling display.
The Spacelab avionics fans can also be activated in the low-speed mode by commands from the orbiter CRT keyboard. The fans are activated in the high-speed mode (four-pole) by commands from the orbiter CRT keyboards. The orbiter MDM deactivation command deactivates both fans simultaneously, and the Spacelab RAU deactivation command turns off each fan separately. The high-speed status of the Spacelab avionics fans is available on the orbiter CRT display and the Spacelab DDU display.
The switch for the fan located in the transfer tunnel cannot be accessed until the tunnel/Spacelab hatch is opened and the flight crew initially transfers to the Spacelab from the orbiter.
When the airlock hatch and the tunnel adapter/Spacelab hatches are open, the orbiter air revitalization system provides air at 48 cubic feet per minute through a duct that branches off of the orbiter cabin air loop downstream of the orbiter cabin heat exchanger and enters the tunnel adapter. In the tunnel adapter the duct can be controlled by a manual shutoff valve before it passes into the transfer tunnel itself. For the transfer tunnel to be entered, the tunnel adapter/Spacelab hatch must be opened and the duct passed through the tunnel hatch, where the duct expands. The fan located in the transfer tunnel draws additional air into the duct through an air inlet located just on the tunnel side of the tunnel adapter hatch.
The fan draws in additional air at a rate of 77 cubic feet per minute for a total nominal duct flow of 125 cubic feet per minute. This flow rate is delivered to the Spacelab cabin. The return air passes through the transfer tunnel itself, initially at 125 cubic feet per minute. However, 77 cubic feet per minute of air is sucked into the duct inlet at the Spacelab side of the tunnel/adapter hatch, and 48 cubic feet per minute of air enters the orbiter cabin through the tunnel adapter and airlock hatch. A scrubber in the tunnel duct removes carbon monoxide. The scrubber, located in parallel with the tunnel fan, produces an air flow of 1.5 to 4 cubic feet per minute.
The tunnel fan receives dc power from the Spacelab electrical power distribution subsystem. A delta pressure sensor located in the tunnel provides telemetry data for calculating air flow. If the Spacelab module is operating with the tunnel adapter hatch closed, air exchange is not possible. In this case the tunnel fan can be used to circulate air at 125 cubic feet per minute in the tunnel.
PRESSURIZED MODULE ACTIVE THERMAL CONTROL SUBSYSTEM
The Spacelab active thermal control subsystem consists of a water loop to remove heat from the Spacelab module and a Freon loop to remove heat from equipment on any pallets that may be flown with the pressurized module. The water loop is normally active only during on-orbit flight phases, but the need to cool experiments during ascent and descent requires operation of the water loop in a degraded performance mode during these phases.
The Spacelab water loop is circulated by a water pump package consisting of dual-redundant pumps (primary and backup) with inlet filters, manually adjustable bypass valves, check valves to prevent recirculation through the inactive pump, and an accumulator assembly to compensate for thermal expansion within the loop and maintain a positive pump inlet pressure.
The pump package is contained in a housing and mounted on the outside of the Spacelab module's forward end cone. The nominal flow rate through one pump is 500 pounds per hour.
The Spacelab water pumps are powered by separate 115-volt buses. They are activated and deactivated by the H 2 O loop pump 1/2 on/off switches on orbiter panel R7 or by commands from the orbiter CRT keyboards. The green LED above each switch on panel R7 is illuminated to indicate that the pump is in operation. The on/off status of the Spacelab water pumps is also shown on the orbiter CRT displays.
The Spacelab Freon coolant loop removes heat from any pallets that may be flown with the pressurized module and transfers the heat of the interloop heat exchanger to the Spacelab water loop system. The flow rate is approximately 3,010 pounds per hour. From the Spacelab water loop system, the water passes through the orbiter payload heat exchanger, which transfers all the heat it has collected to the orbiter Freon coolant loops.
The orbiter receives caution and warning inputs from Spacelab through the orbiter payload MDMs. Four channels in the Spacelab systems are dedicated to sending payload warning signals to the orbiter, and four channels in the Spacelab systems send payload caution signals to the orbiter. Nineteen remaining caution and warning input channels to the orbiter payload MDMs are available for Spacelab experiment limit sensing in the orbiter GPCs. The orbiter provides a maximum of 36 safing commands for use in response to Spacelab caution and warning conditions with 22 reserved for experiment safing commands. All safing commands are initiated at the orbiter CRT and keyboard.
There are two categories of Spacelab emergency conditions: fire/smoke in the Spacelab module and rapid Spacelab cabin depressurization. The orbiter and Spacelab annunciate these conditions and can issue safing commands if they occur. These signals are available during all flight phases.
Redundant Spacelab fire/smoke inputs are generated by two ionization chamber smoke sensors at three locations in the Spacelab. The six fire/smoke discrete signals are hard-wired to six annunciator indicators located on panel R7. These indicators are divided into three pairs labeled left A&B, subfloor A&B and right A&B . The six smoke annunciators enable/inhibit switches on panel R7 can be used to inhibit each fire/smoke sensor's output individually. The smoke sensor reset/norm/test switch on panel R7 is used to reset or test all six sensors simultaneously.
Three signals, each from a different sensor location, are ORed (run through an OR gate) and connected to orbiter panel L1, which has a payload fire/smoke detection light. The three remaining signals are treated in the same manner.
When a Spacelab fire/smoke signal is detected, an emergency tone (siren) generated by the orbiter caution and warning circuitry is transmitted by the orbiter audio central control unit and announced in the Spacelab module by the loudspeaker, and the Spacelab master alarm light is illuminated. The six fire/smoke signals are also connected to six orbiter MDM inputs for display as emergency alert parameters on the orbiter CRT and for telemetry.
Two methods are provided for extinguishing a fire in the Spacelab module: discharging a fire suppressant into the affected area or dumping the Spacelab cabin atmosphere, when appropriate. The fire suppressant discharge consists of 15 orbiter-common fire suppression modules, each filled with the Freon 1301 suppressant agent.
The agent discharge arm/safe switch on orbiter panel R7 or the panel in the Spacelab module is used to safe or arm the discharge function. Each panel has a yellow indicator light that is illuminated when the discharge circuit is armed. The arming of the suppressant discharge function also shuts off the Spacelab module cabin and avionics fans to avoid diluting the suppressant's concentration. The agent can be discharged from either orbiter panel R7 or the panel in the Spacelab module by three identical sets of agent discharge switches, one each for the left, subfloor and right areas. The switches are protected by individual guards. Positioning one of these switches completely discharges the contents of all suppressant bottles in the indicated area of the Spacelab module. In addition, the Spacelab module O2 supply valve close/cmd enable switch on orbiter panel R7 can be used to close off the oxygen supply from the orbiter oxygen system to deprive the fire of oxygen. Spacelab cabin atmosphere dumping is controlled by the cabin depress arm/safe and valve open/close switches on orbiter panel R7. The Spacelab motor-controlled cabin dump valve's status is indicated by the yellow not closed and the red full open indicators on orbiter panel R7 as well as by the orbiter CRT.
The environmental control subsystem provides thermal control of Spacelab experiments and subsystems. The Spacelab Freon-21 coolant loop services the pallet systems and collects heat dissipated by the subsystem and experiment equipment. The Spacelab Freon-21 coolant loop collects heat from the pallet-mounted subsystems and experiments through cold plates, some of which have thermal capacitors to store peak heat loads. The cold plates in the Freon loop are bolted to an intermediate support structure that is attached to the pallet. A maximum of eight cold plates can be used on the pallets for a particular mission.
The subsystem equipment mounted in the igloo is also ser viced by the Freon loop, which interfaces directly with the orbiter's payload heat exchanger. The Freon pump package is mounted on the front frame of the first pallet (forward) in the orbiter payload bay. Thermal coatings are applied to minimize heat leakage and the effects of solar radiation. A special paint is used to reduce the hot-case temperature of the pallet structure itself. An insulated shield installed between the pallet-mounted cold plates and the pallet structure reduces radiation exchange between them. Multilayer insulation thermal tents also protect pallet-mounted subsystems; any unused tents are available for experiments.
NASA's getaway special program, officially known as the Small, Self-Contained Payloads program, offers interested individuals or groups opportunities to fly small experiments aboard the space shuttle. To assure that diverse groups have access to space, NASA rotates payload assignments among three major categories of users: educational, foreign and commercial, and U.S. government.
Since the program was first announced in the fall of 1976, payloads have been reserved by foreign governments and individuals; U.S. industrialists, foundations, high schools, colleges and universities; professional societies; service clubs; and many others. Although persons and groups involved in space research have obtained many of the reservations, a large number of spaces have been reserved by persons and organizations outside the space community.
There are no stringent requirements to qualify for space flight. However, each payload must meet specific safety criteria and be screened for its propriety as well as its educational, scientific or technological objectives. These guidelines preclude commemorative items, such as medallions, that are intended for sale as objects that have flown in space.
GAS requests must first be approved at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., by the director of the Transportation Services Office. At that point NASA screens the propriety and objectives of each request. To complete the reservation process for GAS payloads, each request must be accompanied or preceded by the payment of $500 earnest money.
Approved requests are assigned an identification number and referred to the GAS team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., the designated lead center for the project. The GAS team screens the proposals for safety and provides advice and consultation on payload design. It certifies that proposed payloads are safe and will not harm or interfere with the operations of the space shuttle, its crew or other experiments on the flight. The costs of any physical testing required to answer safety questions before launch are borne by the GAS customer.
NASA's space shuttle program has specific standards and conditions relating to GAS payloads. Payloads must fit NASA standard containers and weigh no more than 200 pounds. However, two or more experiments may be included in a single container if they fit in it and do not exceed weight limitations. The payload must be self-powered and not draw on the shuttle orbiter's electricity. In addition, payload designs should consider that the crew's involvement with GAS payloads will be limited to six simple activities (such as turning on and off up to three payload switches) because crew activity schedules do not provide opportunities to either monitor or service GAS payloads in flight.
The cost of this unique service depends on the size and weight of the experiment. Getaway specials of 200 pounds and 5 cubic feet cost $10,000; 100 pounds and 2.5 cubic feet, $5,000; and 60 pounds and 2.5 cubic feet, $3,000. The weight of the GAS container, experiment mounting plate and its attachment screws, and all hardware regularly supplied by NASA is not charged to the experimenter's weight allowance.
The GAS container provides internal pressure, which can be varied from near vacuum to about one atmosphere. The bottom and sides of the container are always thermally insulated, and the top may be insulated or not, depending on the specific experiment. A lid that can be opened or one with a window may be required. These may also be offered as options at additional cost.
The GAS container is made of aluminum, and the circular end plates are 0.625-inch-thick aluminum. The bottom 3 inches of the container are reserved for NASA interface equipment, such as command decoders and pressure regulating systems. The container is a pressure vessel that can be evacuated before or during launch or on orbit and can be repressurized during re-entry or on orbit, as required by the experimenter.
The getaway bridge, which is capable of holding 12 canisters, made its maiden flight on STS 61-C. The aluminum bridge fits across the payload bay of the orbiter and offers a convenient and economic way of flying several GAS canisters.
For additional information about NASA's getaway special program contact the program manager, code MC, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. 20546. The primary contact for payload users is the technical liaison, Code 740, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. 20771.
Information content from the NSTS Shuttle Reference Manual (1988)
Last Hypertexed Wednesday October 11 17:48:27 EDT 1995
Jim Dumoulin (email@example.com)
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|