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Press Release 95-52

Lori J. Rachul
(Bus: 216/433-8806)


CLEVELAND, OH -- The NASA Lewis Research Center managed Mir Cooperative Solar Array will be delivered to the Russian Mir Space Station during the historic second Shuttle/Mir docking mission. The Space Shuttle Atlantis will launch the array to orbit on November 11, 1995, as part of the STS-74 mission.

The new array, which will replace an existing, degraded solar array, will increase Mir's power capability and extend its lifetime to support Mir-based U.S. experiments.

"The delivery of the Cooperative Solar Array to Mir is the product of a highly successful working relationship among Lewis team members, U.S. contractors and our Russian partners," said Dr. Thomas Labus, chief of Lewis' Power Systems Office. "This major milestone is a step towards building a world-class international research institute in space."

The Atlantis payload will include a Russian-built docking module with two stowed solar arrays attached to its outer surface. One is entirely Russian designed and built while the second, the Mir Cooperative Solar Array, is structurally similar in design but contains flexible solar array panels. Russian cosmonauts will install both of these arrays on Mir in early 1996.

The Mir Cooperative Solar Array has a solar panel surface area of 42 square meters, consisting of 84 panel modules, each of which contains 80 silicon solar cells and 8 bypass diodes. Each cell produces approximately one watt of power when exposed to the Sun. When the array is deployed, it will provide six kilowatts of power helping to boost Mir's energy production facilities and enabling joint U.S./Russian microgravity and life-science research. The Mir Cooperative Solar Array team is structured as an Integrated Product Team (IPT) consisting of NASA's Lewis Research Center; Rockwell International's Rocketdyne Division, Canoga Park, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Corporation, Sunnyvale, Calif.; and Rocket Space Corporation-Energia, Kaliningrad. The IPT concept, which is being incorporated throughout the international Space Station program, provides the necessary communications, flexibility and endorsement of all team members, and produces flight hardware in less time at a lower cost. The Cooperative Solar Array project followed an aggressive timeline--less than two years from inception to deployment of the jointly produced array--making it one of the first pieces of hardware to be launched in the international Space Station program.

Note: If you would like more information regarding the Mir Cooperative Solar Array Project, please contact Kristin Wilson at 216/433-5317.

Photos of the Cooperative Solar Array are available upon request.

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