Search Marshall


Text Size

Link to Marshall Newsroom home page

For release: 06/18/03
Release #: 03-095

Space Station utility hub ready for date with 'Destiny'

Photo description: The Space Station's Node 2

NASA's Node 2, the next pressurized module to be installed on the International Space Station, has been turned over from the European Space Agency to NASA for launch processing. Managed by the Marshall Center, Node 2 successfully completed acceptance test and check-out by NASA managers in June.

Photo: The Space Station's Node 2 (NASA/MSFC)

N ASA's Node 2, the next pressurized module to be installed on the International Space Station, has been turned over from the European Space Agency to NASA for launch processing. Node 2 successfully completed acceptance test and check-out by NASA managers earlier this month.

The arrival of Node 2 sets in motion the final steps toward completing assembly of essential U.S. components. When installed, Node 2 will increase the living and working space inside the Space Station to approximately 18,000 cubic feet. It will also allow the addition of international laboratories from Europe and Japan.

Alenia Spazio, an international contractor based in Rome, Italy designed and built the Node 2 at its facility in Torino, Italy, as part of an agreement between NASA and the European Space Agency.

In March 1997, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. was assigned to manage the Node 2 project for NASA. Marshall Center managers provided technical assistance to Alenia Spazio in developing and ensuring all program requirements for Node 2 were met.

On May 30, the Node 2, loaded onto a Beluga Airbus aircraft, was shipped to its temporary home at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the Node's final stop before its date with "Destiny" — the aptly named U.S. laboratory on the International Space Station.

Once the Node 2 is launched aboard the Space Shuttle and attached to the Destiny laboratory, it will unlock the door for expanding science capabilities on the Space Station, reflecting the project's theme, "Accommodating Nations for Life in Space."

Attaching Node 2 to Destiny will allow several key science facilities to be attached to the International Space Station, including the Japanese Experiment Module named "Kibo," or Hope — the research laboratory developed by the National Space Development Agency of Japan; the Columbus Module — a general purpose science lab designed by the European Space Agency; and the Centrifuge Accommodation Module — a U.S. laboratory dedicated to gravitational biology research. The Node distributes electrical power, heating and cooling to these facilities, as well as to logistics modules — "moving vans" known as Multipurpose Logistics Modules, that carry cargo and experiment racks to and from the Station — that will also use specific docking ports on the Node 2.

"The Node 2 represents what we call U.S. 'core complete' status for the International Space Station — signifying that the Space Station is ready to accommodate the international science laboratories," said Steven McClard, team lead for Node 2 at the Marshall Center. "The Node 2 project has demonstrated a tremendous team effort and cooperation between multiple NASA centers and two international agencies," he added.

Each part of the International Space Station is a handcrafted marvel of aerospace engineering. Weighing approximately 30,000 pounds, the Node 2 is more than 20 feet long and 14.5 feet wide, about the size of a mini-motor home. It has a pressurized volume, or habitable volume, of approximately 2,472 cubic feet.

Node 2 has six docking ports for attaching elements, or other facilities, and contains eight compartments that can accommodate a rack of equipment the size of a doublewide refrigerator. The Node also has four systems racks, which provide basic utilities.

In addition, the Node 2 will also accommodate the H2 Transfer Vehicle — a Japanese carrier similar to the Russian Progress supply ship, which takes supplies to and from the Space Station. And when the Space Shuttle "stops by" for a visit, a pressurized mating adapter attached to the Node 2 will be its primary docking location.

Designing and building the Node 2 has been a six-year collaboration between many international governmental agencies and companies, culminating in its shipment from Torino to Cape Canaveral, where it will be officially signed over from the European Space Agency to NASA June 18.

"We were one big team — the Italian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, NASA, Alenia Spazio and the Boeing Company — all working together on this very complex module," said Maria Cristina Falvella, Nodes deputy manager for the Italian Space Agency. "It was exciting to see how very different cultures and technical approaches can merge giving their best for one goal."

That goal will be reached when the Node 2 is assigned a date for its Space Shuttle launch to "Destiny." For more information on science aboard the International Space Station, visit:

For more information:
News release
More Space Station news

Steve Roy
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

Graphic for line


Get releases sent directly to you!
Betty Humphery

Graphic for line