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The international space station. Major Components - Essay Example

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The US launched its first satellite Explorer I in 1958, soon after the Soviet Sputnik in 1957. This was the start of space race. The race is in the Cold War era when both nations strived for supremacy in every field…
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The international space station. Major Components
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Download file to see previous pages With the space race both countries achieved success in some sectors. The US was successful in landing Apollo missions to the moon, whereas the Soviets were able to build Space Station Mir. The Mir Space Station was built gradually over time and modules were added to the basic structure. The US efforts started President Reagan authorizing the Space Station Freedom (Catchpole 1). The program dovetailed space efforts and programs of Japan, Europe and Canada. The program was shared among the nations and its design changed several times due to different input and ideas from all member states. Funding was collective and the program moved forward. The Soviet Union collapsed after Afghanistan invasion and had difficulty maintaining its Space Station Mir. It was decided by President Clinton to include Russia in the combine effort and the name of the program was therefore, changed to International Space Station. 2. General The International Space Station is the largest space project ever undertaken. The project represents the collective effort of fifteen countries. These include eleven from the European Space program, US, Russia, Japan and Canada. The planned station will have a length of 108 meters and a weight of 450 tons after completion (“International Space Station Facts and Figures” 1). The station orbits the Earth at a height of 240 miles above the Earth’s surface. Because of the size of the space station it can be seen with the naked eye as it orbits the Earth. It is visible as a bright spot moving in the sky in particular at times when the sun light reflects the panels and the observing position is in the dark portion of the Earth. 3. Construction The space station was to be assembled in the orbit. Major parts were made by different countries and launched into space. They orbited in space and were collected together over time to change make the basic structure of the International Space Station. The first piece was launched by Russia in 1998 and was called the Zarya (Harland and Catchpole 203). These pieces are known as modules. The modules were equipped to orbit independently. They had solar panels for power and booster rockets for orbital movement. Before being assembled the modules were given rotation around their axis to ensure that energy from the Sun is distributed evenly across the body of the module. This was due to the fact that extended exposure of any part to the Sun could over heat the area and similarly the part unexposed faced possibility of freezing. Cameras were installed in the modules to assist in docking procedure. The modules were carefully checked for any leakages and were joined together to form the basic structure. The US module Unity was the second to reach the orbit. It was delivered by space shuttle mission as opposed to rocket delivery of Zarya. The modules were connected together with help of robots on shuttle missions. The two modules Zarya and Unity were joined by a third piece known as the Zvezda module. The module added facilities like communication, toilet, kitchen and improved communication facilities. The structure was added with support structures containing solar panels and other support systems called the Truss. 4. Major Components 4.1 Truss Structure The Truss holds together all the components and forms the center piece of the structure. Everything is attached to the Truss structure. The Truss was the fourth part that came in to join the three modules at the initial assembly of the station. The structure carries all the ports required to dock components to the station. It has different docking stations so that the structure is flexible and components can be changed as per design requirement. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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