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Station Cargo Readied
The hatch of the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo.
Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

In the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a technician observes as the hatch closes on the multi-purpose logistics module Leonardo. The Italian-built module is part of the payload that Space Shuttle Discovery will carry to the International Space Station on the next mission. The module contains more than two tons of equipment and supplies to be delivered to the station by Discovery's crew during the STS-121 mission.

Leonardo is one of three such modules that act as "moving vans" for the Space Station, carrying cargo and supplies for delivery, and returning spent materials to Earth. Designed to fit in the space shuttle cargo bay, each module is approximately 21 feet long and 15 feet in diameter. They weigh almost 4.5 tons and can carry 10 tons of cargo packed into standard "racks."

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