March 10, 1997
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
The planned final configuration of the International Space Station has been enhanced under a recent agreement signed by NASA with the European Space Agency (ESA) that will have ESA construct two station docking nodes, one of which is a new addition, in exchange for the planned NASA launch of the station's ESA-supplied Columbus laboratory module.
The launch-offset barter agreement, a type of agreement common within the International Space Station Program, exchanges ESA services to construct the nodes as payment to NASA for the launch of the Columbus module. Under the agreement, ESA will supply Node 2, a docking node planned to be launched in mid-2000 and connected to the United States Laboratory Module, and Node 3, a new addition to the station planned to be launched after station assembly is completed in the current assembly sequence.
Node 3 will attach to the station's habitation module and provide valuable additional docking ports to the orbital outpost.
Construction of the two nodes will be delegated to the Italian Space Agency. Plans to convert the Node 1 structural test article, located at Boeing's facilities at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, into the Node 2 flight article will be revised accordingly.
Although the construction of the two nodes by ESA is the primary service supplied to NASA under the barter agreement, the agreement also includes requirements for ESA to supply a crew refrigerator/freezer unit for the station's habitation module; a cryogenic freezer unit for the U.S. laboratory module; and a variety of other minor hardware.
The next step is for NASA and ESA to negotiate an implementing arrangement for this activity.
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