EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments for Space Station Racks (EXPRESS Racks) - 07.29.14

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
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Science Objectives for Everyone
EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments for Space Station (EXPRESS) Racks are multipurpose payload rack systems that store and support research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The EXPRESS Racks can support science experiments in any discipline by providing structural interfaces, power, data, cooling, water, and other items needed to operate science experiments in space.

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This content was provided by Annette Sledd, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Facility Details

OpNom:

Facility Manager(s)

  • Annette Sledd, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States

  • Facility Representative(s)
  • Lee P. Jordan, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States

  • Developer(s)

    Boeing, Huntsville, AL, United States
    Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2001 - October 2015

    Expeditions Assigned
    2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32,35/36,37/38,39/40,41/42,43/44

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

    Availability
    Information Pending

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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • EXPRESS Racks provide simple, standard interfaces to accommodate up to ten (10) small payloads, resulting in a total capability to operate up to 80 experiments.


    • EXPRESS Racks supply payloads with power conversion and distribution, data and video distribution, nitrogen supply and exhaust distribution, and thermal control interfaces.
    With standardized hardware interfaces, the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Rack enables quick, simple integration of multiple payloads aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The system is composed of elements that remain on the ISS and elements that travel back and forth between the ISS and Earth via various space vehicles. EXPRESS Rack facilities remain on orbit continually. Experiments are replaced on the EXPRESS rack as needed, remaining on the ISS for periods ranging from 3 months to several years, depending on the experiment's time requirements.

    Payloads within any EXPRESS Rack facility can operate independently of one another, allowing for differences in temperature, power levels and schedules. These facilities provide stowage, power, data, command and control, video, water cooling, air cooling, vacuum exhaust, and nitrogen supplies to payloads. Each facility is housed in an International Standard Payload Rack (ISPR), a refrigerator-size container that acts as the facility?s exterior shell.

    The EXPRESS Rack facilities are comprised of various subsystems that enable experiment operations. The Rack Interface Controller (RIC), EXPRESS Memory Unit (EMU), Payload Ethernet Hub/Bridge (PEHB), EXPRESS Laptop Computer (ELC), EXPRESS Rack Thermal System, and the Solid State Power Controller Module (SSPCM).

    Each of the eight EXPRESS Rack facilities can each support ten small payloads resulting in a total capability to operate up to 80 experiments. Eight of the EXPRESS Rack positions are the size of a shuttle Middeck Locker with a carrying capacity of 72 lbs and an internal volume of 2 ft3. The remaining 2 positions are International Subrack Interface Standard (ISIS) drawers, which has a carrying capacity of 44 lbs and an internal volume of 1.3 ft3.

    Experiments in these facilities may be directly controlled by the crew or remotely controlled by the Payload Rack Officer (PRO) on-duty at the Payload Operations and Integration Center (POIC) at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama. Linked by a computer to all payload racks aboard the Space Station, the PRO routinely checks rack integrity, temperature control and the proper working conditions of the experiments.

    The ISS experiences tiny vibrations caused by crew exercise, onboard pumps and motors, and other everyday activities that can upset sensitive science experiments. The Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS), which is installed on EXPRESS Rack 2 and partially on EXPRESS Rack 3, absorbs vibration to isolate and attenuate disturbances. ARIS attenuates vibration at the rack by imparting reactive forces to the rack to counter sensed vibratory accelerations, reducing the disturbance to payloads within the rack.

    The EXPRESS Racks schedule to the ISS is as follows:
    • EXPRESS Racks 1 and 2 launched to the ISS on STS-100/6A April 19, 2001
    • EXPRESS Racks 4 and 5 launched to the ISS on STS-105/7A.1 August 10, 2001
    • EXPRESS Rack 3 launched to the ISS on STS-111/UF-2 June 5, 2002
    • EXPRESS Rack 6 launched to the ISS on STS-126/ULF2 November 14, 2008
    • EXPRESS Rack 7 launched to the ISS on STS-131/19A on April 5, 2010
    • EXPRESS Rack 8 is scheduled for launch on STS-133/ULF5 on November 1, 2010.
    The EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Rack were developed to provide International Space Station (ISS) accommodations for small, subrack payloads. The rack accepts Space Shuttle middeck locker payloads and International Subrack Interface Standard (ISIS) drawer payloads, allowing previously flown payloads an opportunity to transition to the International Space Station. The EXPRESS Rack system also includes transportation racks to transport payloads to and from the ISS, suitcase simulators to allow a payload developer to verify ISS power and data interfaces at the development site, functional checkout units to allow payload checkout at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) prior to launch, and trainer racks for the crewmembers to learn how to operate the EXPRESS Racks prior to flight. Standard hardware and software interfaces provided by the EXPRESS Rack simplify the analytical and physical integration processes and facilitate simpler ISS payload development. The EXPRESS Rack has also formed the basis for the U.S. life sciences payload racks.

    EXPRESS Racks equipped with ARIS are commanded to active isolation mode, in which it actively reduces external disturbances while requiring minimal crew time. Using laptop computer displays, the crew activates or deactivates ARIS, performs pushrod alignment procedures, and changes ARIS states of operation. The states of ARIS operations are as follows:
    • Idle: The ARIS does not attempt to control the position or acceleration of the rack.


    • Hold: The ARIS centers the rack and holds its position relative to the space station without actively reducing vibrations.


    • Active: The ARIS senses and compensates for acceleration to maintain a microgravity environment.


    • NOGO: The ARIS is in an idle-like state and does not attempt to control position or acceleration. ARIS enters this state upon any error or failure of the active built-in test that is part of the initialization sequence.

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    Operations

    Facility Operations

    • The EXPRESS Rack is transported to orbit in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) with a partial subrack payload complement. Racks are transferred to the ISS, and installation checkout is performed.


    • During every increment, one EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) Rack is designated to be continuously powered and remains powered for the entire increment. Other racks are powered on and off as needed for payloads operations.

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    Results/More Information

    Results Publications

      Pelfrey JJ, Jordan LP.  An EXPRESS Rack Overview and support for Microgravity Research on the International Space Station (ISS). 46th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, Reno, NV; 2008

      Counts SM, Sledd A.  EXPRESS Rack Capabilities and Lessons Learned. Conference and Exhibit on International Space Station Utilization, Cape Canaveral, FL; 2001

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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    Imagery

    image NASA Image: STS110-359-009 - Pilot Stephen N. Frick poses by EXPRESS Rack 1 in the U.S. Laboratory during the STS-110 mission (Expedition 4).
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    image NASA Image: ISS004-332-034 - Astronaut Dan Bursch works at EXPRESS Rack 2 in the U.S. Laboratory during ISS Expedition 4. The protective ARIS netting which resembles large rubber bands is shown above the crewmember.
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    image NASA Image: ISS015E34435 - EXPRESS Rack 3 with the European Module Cultivation System installed. The photo was taken during ISS Expedition 15. The rack is composed of storage lockers.
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    image NASA Image: ISS009E05444 - The image shows a front view of EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station EXPRESS Rack 4 in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, during Expedition 9. Equipment visible in the EXPRESS Rack includes the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) and the Gas Supply Module (GSM) support hardware for the CBOSS (Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support Systems) investigations, and the Advanced Thermoelectric Refrigerator/Freezer (ARCTIC). Also visible is the Advanced Astroculture Support System (ADVASC-SS) hardware and the Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) II.
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    image NASA Image: ISS006E20960 - View of EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station EXPRESS Rack 5, LAB1S5, and Mobile Servicing System Rack 1 (MSS-1) in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, during Expedition 6. The Advanced Thermoelectric Refrigerator/Freezer (ARCTIC) supply, high-rate frame multiplexer, and PCS-1 laptop computer are visible.
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    image NASA Image: ISS018E018928 - View of EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station EXPRESS Rack 6 in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, during Expedition 18.
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    image NASA Image: S131E008549 - View of crewmember Naoko Yamazaki as she works to transfer EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station EXPRESS Rack 7 from the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) during STS-131/Expedition 23 Joint Docked Ops.
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