The International Space Station: Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier

The International Space Station: Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier
The International Space Station: Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier
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Over a span of 20 years, the vision of an international orbiting outpost—one with continuous human presence, measuring the size of a football field, with mass of ~900,000 lbm, and orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes—became a reality. The International Space Station (ISS) is a testament to what engineering miracles can be accomplished with vision, leadership, perseverance, political support, and funding. The ISS enables world-class scientific research, forges pathfinders for future exploration travel, and unites 15 international partners working together with common goals to keep the ISS viable. 

The ISS is part of NASA’s ongoing, deliberate, step-by-step approach for expanding the boundaries associated with human spaceflight exploration that will return us to the moon and eventually to inhabiting Mars.

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Table of Contents

Dedication   iii

Foreword   iv

Preface  v

Introduction   ix

Chapter 1 Systems: International Space Station Planning—A Roadmap to Getting It All Done  1

Chapter 2 Day in the Life: Living and Working in Space and on the Ground  19

Chapter 3 Systems: Structure and Mechanisms—The International Space Station’s Skeleton   35

Chapter 4 Day in the Life: The Making of a Mission   61

Chapter 5 Systems: Command and Data Handling—The Brains of the International Space Station  91

Chapter 6 Day in the Life: “Brain Transplants” on the International Space Station   109

Chapter 7 Systems: Motion Control System—Navigator of the Heavens  119

Chapter 8 Day in the Life: Debris Avoidance—Navigating the Occasionally Unfriendly Skies of Low-Earth Orbit  139

Chapter 9 Systems: Electrical Power System—The Power Behind it All  155

Chapter 10 Day in the Life: Preparing for the Unexpected   173

Chapter 11 Systems: Thermal Control—the “Circulatory System” of the International Space Station 191

Chapter 12 Day in the Life: Empty House—Decrewing the International Space Station  209

Chapter 13 Systems: Communications and Tracking—The Vital Link to the International Space Station  221

Chapter 14 Day in the Life: Vital Visiting Vehicles—Keeping the Remote Outpost Crewed and Operating   233

Chapter 15 Systems: Robotics—the Construction Equipment for the International Space Station   249

Chapter 16 Day in the Life: In-Flight Maintenance   267

Chapter 17 Systems: Extravehicular Activities—Building a Space Station  279

Chapter 18 Day in the Life: Risky and Rewarding Spacewalks—Space Shuttle Mission STS-120/ISS-10A   305

Chapter 19 Systems: Environmental Control and Life Support System— Supporting the Human Element of the International Space Station  333

Chapter 20 Day in the Life: When Major Anomalies Occur  353

Appendix   379

Acronyms and Nomenclature   380

References . 384

Acknowledgments   386

About the Authors   387

Index  390


Members of the space and exploration community, federal government officials engaged in he approval of funding for NASA projects, existing and potential commercial vendors equipping hardware and software to the NASA operations, instructors and students in the filed of astro-physics and space exploration.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Dempsey, Robert
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  • International Space Station
  • Operating an Outpost in the New Frontier
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