|Question and Answer Board
|Antonin from Prague, Czech Republic
Have the MPLMs only one CBM (Common Berthing Mechanism), or two of them on both ends?
|The MPLM has one Common Berthing Mechanism to dock to the station. The other end is a larger opening that we use on the ground to store the large refrigerator-sized racks and remove them when the MPLM returns from orbit. So the end that you see when the MPLM is docked to station is opposite the Common Berthing Mechanism end.|
|Luigi from Naples
Who are the Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules named after? The Ninja Turtles or Italian artists?
|And that's a good question -- I like that question! Obviously, the dual use of the names isn't lost on the entire team. The Italians did, indeed, name the whole fleet of MPLMs for Italian artists. Donatello, Rafaello and Leonardo da Vinci, who I think would be very interested in what we're doing with International Space Station right now if he were alive. There's no Michaelangelo yet, so we haven't filled out the entire fleet.|
|Connie from Orchard Park
When is the MPLM "Donatello" going to make its first flight? STS-111 is taking MPLM Leonardo. Will STS-111 bring back Leonardo or does Leonardo stay docked to the ISS, until it is unloaded and repacked and then returned on a different shuttle?
|Yes, this is Leonardo's third flight to the International Space station. Rafaello has flown twice and Donatello has yet to fly. Donatello is slated to fly in 2005. Right now, the MPLMs return on the same shuttle that takes them to the station. They go up on the same shuttle and come back on the same shuttle.|
|Taylor from Colorado Springs
What percentage volume of the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module is occupied by scientific experiments and what percentage is reserved for non-science supplies?
|Another good question. It varies from flight to flight. We're moving into a time when we're flying as many experiments as we are, crew supplies. This mission, STS-111, will have more experiments and more experiment materials than crew supplies. We're taking up two science racks: one, the Microgravity Science Glovebox, and also an EXPRESS rack, which expedites getting payloads into the space station. Both those racks will be transferred by the crew from the MPLM Leonardo into the International Space Station Lab. We then return the other racks back to Earth during STS-111 for processing.|