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  Leaving Leonorado (or other MPLM) on orbit

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Author Topic:   Leaving Leonorado (or other MPLM) on orbit
keith.wilson
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Posts: 62
From: Callander, Stirling, Scotland
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 07-14-2006 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for keith.wilson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could the Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLM) become permanent additions to the International Space Station? I know this isn't planned but why not? They could provide additional work/storage space.

eurospace
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From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 07-14-2006 12:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, one and the major reason is that the current MPLM (built in Italy, by the way) is not equipped with a life support system. It's a simple (well, not so simple after all) container. Its purpose is the purpose of a removal van. That's what it's built for. If you want to set up home in a removal van on Earth, you would need to fit it with water supply, a bathroom and a toilet, so to speak. It's a bit similar with the MPLM.

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 07-14-2006 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Valid points but couldn't the MPLMs be used only as "storage closets?" If utilized in this way then they wouldn't need anything but "lights".

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-14-2006 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The MPLMs include components that provide "some life support, fire detection and suppression, electrical distribution and computer functions" however, their limiting on-orbit factor is shielding from micrometeorites. As they weren't designed for long-term spaceflight they are essentially too 'thin' to be left docked at the ISS for any substantial amount of time.

Danno
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posted 09-14-2007 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Danno   Click Here to Email Danno     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
If utilized in this way then they wouldn't need anything but "lights".
Yes, this is being looked into. While they are not really rated for long duration flights they do have a hatch that can be closed. It is just a matter of leaving it on a port that you don't want to use again.

Lots of good storage on one of those...

keith.wilson
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Posts: 62
From: Callander, Stirling, Scotland
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 05-06-2009 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for keith.wilson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's being reported that as the ISS moves to a crew of six that a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) might be left permanently attached to the station. This makes sense to me... pity they are only considering leaving just one!

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 05-06-2009 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dan Hartman, NASA's manager for the integration and operations of the International Space Station, addressed this topic today (May 6) during a press conference:
"The study is back on the table so we're looking at adding what we call a 'PLM', a permanent logistics module to the International Space Station. And I believe it is 'Unit 2' and I'm not quite sure what that one [MPLM] is specifically called.

The trade study goes like, well, you know, if we leave a permanent MPLM on orbit, probably some additional micro-meteoroid debris shields need to be added to it [and] some system upgrades need to be added to it, to a degree. So, that would take away some of our precious up-mass that we'd like to get to orbit.

On the flip side, as we look at on-orbit stowage and efficiency of crew time, and trying to pack your closets the best way that you can, there's a lot of gain on that side. It doesn't come cost free and so we will be weighing those three factors.

I believe we're about a month, month and a half away from making a decision on that."

328KF
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posted 09-04-2009 11:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks firm now. NASA and Italian officials have agreed that STS-133, the final flight for the shuttle fleet, will take a modified MPLM to ISS as a permanent new module.

It will cost the astronaut office two seats on the last launch in order to carry the heavy payload.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-04-2009 11:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The linked Flight Global article is mistaken about the module to be left on the station.

According to ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini just two days ago, the MPLM to be adapted as the PLM is Leonardo (currently on-orbit with STS-128), not Raffaello.

Suffredini did say the plan could change, but currently, Leonardo is it.

There's also some reason to believe that the decision (to fly the PLM) isn't as firm yet as the article makes it out to be.

As late as this morning, the ISS Program was still debating having STS-128 spacewalkers Danny Olivas and Christer Fuglesang hold off on part of the cable configuration needed to support Node 3 Tranquility on the port side of Node 1 Unity. There is some concern about clearances between Unity, Tranquility, the Russian MRM, the PLM and arriving logistic flights (i.e. ATV, HTV and COTS).

One of the plans under consideration as of this morning was for STS-130 to deliver Tranquility (with the Cupola) but to only give it "keep alive" power, keep it shut, and wait until it could be moved from the port side of Unity to Unity's nadir. The PLM would then be berthed at Harmony zenith.

But this afternoon, the STS-128 crew was told that Suffredini himself had made the call to proceed with their EVA as originally planned: that Tranquility would be going to Unity port and staying there (though he also reportedly reserved the right to change plans later, after the spacewalk/mission).

So, while it does look like NASA has a desire and an intention to support the PLM, there is obviously still work to do before the plan can go forward.

328KF
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posted 09-05-2009 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great info... thanks Robert.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-08-2009 02:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to follow-up, as of today, the plan is to dock Node 3 Tranquility to Node 1 Unity port and then dock the PLM to Unity's nadir, as that is the location that requires the least micrometeorid shielding enhancements to the modified MPLM.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-16-2009 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini said today that the decision has been made and an agreement has been reached with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) to modify and fly an MPLM on the final scheduled space shuttle mission (ULF5/STS-133) to be left at the space station. In addition to carrying equipment on that flight, the PLM will be used to provide additional stowage capability for the ISS.

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 10-16-2009 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did he say which one and how they needed to be modified?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-16-2009 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suffredini did not specify today which MPLM would be modified, though back in September he said it would be Leonardo.

The modifications are mostly focused on adding additional micro-meteoroid and thermal shields.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-26-2010 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA and Italian Space Agency Find New Use for Module

NASA and the Italian Space Agency announced a new use for an existing Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) known as "Leonardo." It will be transformed into a Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) for the International Space Station.

For nearly a decade, the Italian-built logistic modules have flown inside the payload bays of NASA's shuttle fleet, successfully delivering vital hardware and supplies to the station. The new use for this proven carrier will enhance the use of the station.

Leonardo will undergo modifications to ensure safe, long-term operation as the PMM, and to increase the amount of mass it can carry to orbit. The supply-laden PMM will be flown aboard shuttle Discovery during the STS-133 mission in September and attached to the station.

The added space within the PMM will enable efficient positioning of experiments throughout the station complex. Inside the PMM, experiments in fluid physics, materials science, biology, biotechnology and other microgravity experiments may be conducted.

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