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Press Release 98-32

Sally V. Harrington
NASA Lewis Research Center
(Bus: 216/433-2037)


CLEVELAND, OH--What will it be like working and living in space? Greater Clevelanders will have a better understanding of what astronauts will experience in a few years after walking through a full-scale mock-up of one of the International Space Stations’ science laboratories and the crew’s living quarters.

Two 48-foot trailers house the exhibit that will be part of a Space Station Celebration on Saturday, June 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the NASA Lewis Research Center. Other activities planned include making space-related items and sampling "astronaut" ice cream. There will be microgravity demonstrations and presentations on Lewis’ contributions to Space Station. Videos will be shown, and a member of the speakers bureau will give an overview of the International Space Station. Activities will take place at the Visitor Center, which is wheelchair accessible. The event is free.

The celebration is in anticipation of the launch later this year of the first of 46 assembly missions during which the International Space Station will be constructed. Also being celebrated is the 25th anniversary of the Skylab 3 Mission. Visitors can view the actual Apollo Command Module used to take astronauts to the first space station--Skylab.

The Space Station exhibit is modeled after the real Station; the only thing missing from the exhibit is the lack of gravity. Inside the living quarters, visitors will see where the international crew will sleep, exercise, relax and prepare their meals. They will be able to step into the astronauts’ shower and bathroom compartments, peer into storage drawers, or look out the porthole at the Earth. They can even "zip-up" into an astronaut sleeping bag, called a "sleep restraint unit."

The International Space Station will be a permanent orbiting science institute capable of performing long-duration materials and life sciences research in a near-gravity-free environment. It will accelerate breakthroughs in science, technology, and engineering, which will have immediate, practical applications for us back here on Earth.

The laboratory module in the companion trailer features mock-ups of actual experiments scheduled aboard the Space Station. Racks in the floor and ceiling depict facilities designed to help scientists study materials and fluids. Aboard the real Space Station, scientists will conduct experiments to find better ways to produce electronic materials such as semiconductors and superconductors, and crystals for lasers, computer chips and solar cells. Other experiments onboard the Space Station will examine the behavior of fluids in a microgravity environment, some of which will be NASA Lewis-related research.

The basic workings of the human body will be studied aboard the Station to provide better methods for adapting to living in space, with applications to treatments for people who suffer from physical disability on Earth. In the exhibit’s laboratory, visitors will see racks on both sides of the wall where life sciences research will take place. They can ask staffers about the study of cell and tissue growth in space, which will allow scientists to better understand the role gravity plays in how cells join together to create either healthy or unhealthy tissue.

The International Space Station is considered to be the largest cooperative scientific program in history. Sixteen nations--the United States, Canada, Japan, 11 European countries, Russia and Brazil--have contributed resources and scientific expertise to this project. Research performed on the Space Station is expected to improve the quality of life for people on earth in the future.

NOTE: The media are invited to tour the exhibit on Friday, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. NASA representatives traveling with the exhibit will be on hand to talk about the Space Station. NASA Lewis managers will be available to discuss the Center’s contributions to both the International Space Station and the Lewis-related research.

Media interested in touring the exhibit on Friday or covering the activities on Saturday are asked to call ahead for clearance through the Main Gate.

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