Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ISS Storage Room, a Video, and Hair

"Space Station Gets a Zero Gravity Storage Room"
Denise Chow, (March 1, 2011 )

"The astronaut crew of space shuttle Discovery made a special delivery at the International Space Station today (March 1) by installing a new, and much-needed, extra storage room on the orbiting lab.

"The astronauts used a robotic arm to attach the zero gravity closet, called the Permanent Multipurpose Module, to the bottom of the space station on an Earth-facing port of NASA's Unity node. The module's installation also marked another historic moment for the mission – it is the last NASA room to be attached to the multinational laboratory.

"The module was successfully attached to the station at 10:05 a.m. EST (1505 GMT).

" 'Leonardo is looking very happy to be in his or her new home,' station astronaut Cady Coleman said...."

"...The Leonardo module was one of three cargo-carrying Multipurpose Logistics Modules built for NASA by the Italian Space Agency. It's about the size of a small bus and weighs about 28,353 pounds (12,860 kilograms) when loaded with cargo.

"Leonardo was delivered to NASA in 1998 and made its first spaceflight in 2001. This mission is its eighth and last trip to space. [Infographic: A New Closet for the Space Station]

"By coincidence, flight controllers here at the station's Mission Control here at NASA's Johnson Space Center radioed the crew with a timely announcement: The space outpost was flying over Turin, Italy as the Italian-built module was bolted into place...."

The psychological and cultural implications of that phrase, "Leonardo is looking very happy to be in his or her new home," deserve a little attention. There's anthropomorphism: assigning human traits to something that's not human. Then there's the careful "his or her" phrase: the Lemming remembers when folks in America had to start being crazy-careful about personal pronouns. Looks like we're still in that sociopolitical bog.

On the other hand, this video shows how much things have changed since the '50s. Which the Lemming doesn't miss, by the way. On the other hand, homo sapiens sapiens hasn't changed all that much in the last 50 years. Or 500, or 5,000 for that matter. Which is another topic.

One of the Lemming's daughters, seeing the video, remarked on the futility of all that money spent on hair conditioners: when someone's hair gets world-class body just by living on the ISS. Which is yet another topic.

The PMM - the Lemming thinks "closet" is a pretty good term, too - is another example of the modular design. It's a smart approach, in the Lemming's opinion, since a 'modular' ISS could be used as soon as a habitat, power source, and docking points were in place. Or is it in orbit?

Which brings up the matter of how new things like the ISS, Web, and iPod are named - which is yet again another topic.

Learn more about space shuttle Discovery's final cargo: a closet for the International Space Station to be delivered during Discovery's final mission STS-133.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

Related posts:Related NASA video:
  • "Waking up, working, and going to sleep in Zero G"
    NASAtelevision, YouTube (January 18, 2011)
    video, 17:10
    • Expedition 26 NASA Flight Engineer Cady Coleman discusses what daily life is like aboard an orbiting space laboratory on CBS' news program "The Talk" on January 18, 2011.

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