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Payload Manager Debbie Hahn on Leonardo
06.28.06
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You're listening to NASA Direct.

I'm George Diller, Public Affairs Officer at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Space Shuttle Discovery is set to fly mission STS-121 with a payload containing spare parts and experiments bound for the International Space Station. Payload Manager Debbie Hahn recently visited the NASA Direct Studio to share some interesting facts about the payload, Leonardo.

The payload is also known as ULF one-dot-one or Utilization Logistics Flight, and it contains an important and 'heavy' load.

My name is Debbie Hahn and I'm the payload mission manager for ULF-1.1, STS-121.

ULF-1.1 contains three primary payload elements, the multi-purpose logistics module and two cross-bay carriers. The carriers are bringing spare space station parts and a platform to investigate repair techniques for the orbiter's wing leading edge material, reinforced composite carbon. The total weight of the payloads for this mission is about 8,602 pounds. The total liftoff weight is about 2,200 tons, which is about equal to 44 big rig trucks.

Debbie tells us keeping the payloads clean is of the utmost importance.

We keep the payloads very, very clean. As we process the payloads in our processing facilities, we wear what we call "bunny suits," or suits. We have hats and shoes and gloves when we interface with any flight hardware. We do inspections throughout the processing to ensure that we have left nothing dirty or any type of contamination, including outgassing from, from other elements. We check very closely to make sure that each payload element doesn't contaminate the other element.

Once the payload reaches the ISS, the crew's work begins.

The astronauts will be very busy with investigations on orbiter repair techniques. They're going to be very busy unpacking supplies and equipment from the MPLM, the multi-purpose logistic module, and removing spare equipment from the carriers to the International Space Station.

Finally, science capabilities will be expanded once Leonardo reaches its destination.

This mission does add science capability to the International Space Station. It contains a minus-80-degree freezer that will be used to transport and stow experiment samples, an experiment on microbial cells, an experiment investigation with fruit flies, a collection of instruments to study the astronauts' nervous system in space, and an environment to study the effect of light and gravity on plant growth and development.

Debbie, thank you for your insight and thank you for listening to NASA Direct. This is George Diller.

This podcast was presented by NASA Direct.

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