Space

The International Space Station gets a remodel

The International Space Statio...
Illustration of the ISS with the previous location of Leonardo highlighted in blue, and its new location in green
Illustration of the ISS with the previous location of Leonardo highlighted in blue, and its new location in green
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Illustration of the ISS with the previous location of Leonardo highlighted in blue, and its new location in green
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Illustration of the ISS with the previous location of Leonardo highlighted in blue, and its new location in green
This shot by Samantha Cristoforetti shows Leonardo through the Unity porthole
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This shot by Samantha Cristoforetti shows Leonardo through the Unity porthole
The crew of Expedition 26 and STS-133 inside Leonardo
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The crew of Expedition 26 and STS-133 inside Leonardo
Photo of Discovery snapped in 2011, bringing Leonardo to the ISS for the last time
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Photo of Discovery snapped in 2011, bringing Leonardo to the ISS for the last time
The interior of the Leonardo module
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The interior of the Leonardo module
Leonardo being installed on the ISS in 2011
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Leonardo being installed on the ISS in 2011

Mankind's most remoteoutpost underwent a significant remodel this week, as an entire moduleof the International Space Station was relocated in order to make wayfor the next generation of American commercial spacecraft. The movedidn't require a spacewalk, with operators instead making use of the16-m (52-ft) robotic arm to grapple and maneuver the Leonardo,or Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM).

The module in questionisn't necessarily glamorous in purpose, being an orbital storage andlaundry bin, but it has had a storied existence. It actually beganits life as a haulage container, designed for the US Space Shuttleprogram by Italy's ASI Space Agency in exchange for NASA agreeing tosend Italian astronauts to the station. In all, the container flew tothe station seven times aboard various shuttles before being modifiedand becoming a permanent fixture of the station in 2011.

Photo of Discovery snapped in 2011, bringing Leonardo to the ISS for the last time
Photo of Discovery snapped in 2011, bringing Leonardo to the ISS for the last time

The 6.7 m (22 ft)-longcontainer module was unbolted from the Unity docking node from insidethe ISS by astronauts Terry Virts and Scott Kelly, allowing theoperators of the outpost's robotic arm based in Houston, USA andQuebec, Canada to go about the delicate work of shifting the 10-tonne (11-ton)storage shed to its new home. In all, the move took around three anda half hours, after which Leonardo was successfully bolted in placeat the Tranquility docking node.

The ongoing alterationsto the ISS represent one of the most significant remodels of theoutpost since its completion in 2011, and will be instrumental inreturning manned launch capabilities to the ISS back tothe United States. But for now, let's just hope none of the residentsaboard the station try to open the wrong door.

The video belowcontains an animation of the moving process.

Source: NASA

PMM Relocation Animation

1 comment
Kristianna Thomas
The original concept of the International Space Station was to foster international cooperation between nations of the Earth, and to use the resources of space for the benefit of all homo sapiens-kind. Now we are faced with the struggle of hegemony and dominance between empires and their social-economic interests. We want to foster commercial space corporations that would make space a profitable venture onto planets and moons of the solar system. Instead of the ISS being for the worlds development it boils down to Europe and the US competing with one another for the bounty that space shall sure to provide.