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Michael Mewhinney                                                                            May17, 2004

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.                                       

Phone: 650/604-3937 or 650/604-9000




NASA is bringing the excitement of human spaceflight to the San Francisco Bay Area this week when a special exhibit of the International Space Station opens at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Visitors to the Exploration Center at NASA Ames, currently featuring the Mars exhibit, will have the opportunity to learn about the International Space Station - the world's only orbiting laboratory.  Visitors will board an interactive exhibit, "Space Station Imagination," to catch a glimpse of how astronauts live and work in space.

The exhibit will be on display May 18 to June 8 in the parking lot adjacent to the Exploration Center at NASA Ames and will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT Tuesdays through Fridays and from noon to 4 p.m. PDT on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The Space Station is a critical stepping-stone for the Vision for Space Exploration. NASA's research efforts on orbit focus on the effects of microgravity on the human body. This will help scientists learn how to prepare astronauts and spacecraft for long-duration missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

The Vision for Space Exploration includes returning the Space Shuttle safely to flight, completing the International Space Station, developing and testing a new exploration vehicle and embarking on extended human missions to the Moon. NASA will return to the Moon as a first step to opening the solar system to further exploration and demonstrating our ability to live and work on another world.

Space Station Imagination is comprised of two 48-foot trailers linked in an L-shape to form two modules of the Space Station: the Habitation Module, or living quarters, where the astronauts sleep, eat and tend to personal hygiene, and the Laboratory Module where multiple microgravity experiments are performed. Visitors do not see exact replicas of what the modules look like but rather examples of features of the Habitation and Laboratory modules.

Animatronics 'astronaut' Dr. Emily greets visitors as she awakens to start her day on board this international orbiting laboratory. Displays show how a space toilet and shower work like vacuum cleaners with very little gravity, as well as how astronauts eat and sleep aboard the Space Station. A centrifuge displays how scientists might study the effects of varying levels of gravity on plants, animals and materials.

Using actual footage from the Space Station, three video presentations, about five minutes in length, entertain and inform viewers with the story of human space exploration and the International Space Station Program. The complete tour of the exhibit takes about 20 minutes.

If weather conditions are clear, Bay Area residents should be able to see the International Space Station and its crew flying high overhead May 26 through June 3.  NASA's Sightings Web site provides users with detailed information on how the view the Space Station at:

The following are estimated sighting dates and times for the Bay Area:

Date                 Time                            Max Elev         Approach              Departure

May-26           9:49 to 9:51 p.m.         15                    15-above-NNE    12-above-ENE

May-27           10:20 to 10:21 p.m.     44                    34-above-N         44-above-NNE

May-28           9:15 to 9:18 p.m.         19                    16-above-N         11-above-ENE

May-29           9:46 to 9:47 p.m.         63                    50-above-NNW   41-above-ESE

May-30           10:15 to 10:16 p.m.     25                    19-above-W         25-above WSW

May-31           9:11 to 9:14 p.m.         82                    54-above-NW     14-above-SE

Jun-01             9:41 to 9:43 p.m.         18                    15-above-WSW  14-above-SSW

Jun-03             9:06 to 9:08 p.m.         13                    12-above-WSW  10-above-SSW


For more information on the Space Station Imagination exhibit visit:



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