SPACEHAB, Incorporated, a leading provider of commercial space services, reached an agreement in principal with RSC Energia, Russia's largest manufacturer of aerospace and space equipment, to provide facilities and support services for its Mini Research Module (MRM1). The MRM1 will be readied for its journey aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle at the SPACEHAB Cape Canaveral payload processing location. Manifested to fly on STS-132
during the Space Shuttle's final mission
in April 2010, the MRM1 will act as a docking port extension for the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles that have transported astronauts and cosmonauts.
"We are very enthusiastic about providing RSC Energia with our facilities and capabilities in support of Russia's contribution to the international space program," said Ret. General Lance Lord, Astrotech Chief Executive Officer. "This collaboration furthers the international cooperation that has been the basis for the International Space Station since it inauguration in 1998."
The MRM1 will be ferrying a full payload of cargo including spare parts, research hardware, and consumables to the ISS. Following deployment from the shuttle's cargo bay, the MRM1 will find its permanent residence on the International Space Station (ISS), providing additional storage capacity and a docking extension facility.
"RSC Energia and SPACEHAB, Inc. have been working together for more than 10 years," explains Mr. N. Zelenschikov, Senior Vice President of Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (RSC Energia). "RSC Energia is confident of SPACEHAB, Inc.'s support of pre-launch processing and integration of MRM1 at SPACEHAB Payload Processing Facility."
SPACEHAB's Payload Processing Facility, located adjacent to the south entrance of Kennedy Space Center, the home port for NASA's space shuttle operations has supported 23 space shuttle missions using SPACEHAB's own commercial, habitable space modules and cargo carriers. Although SPACEHAB's modules are not currently manifested for flight on the remaining space shuttle missions, the Company continues to maintain its equipment and capabilities to support a possible extended life of the space shuttle program. SPACEHAB and its Astrotech Space Operations subsidiary will bring more than two decades of spacecraft ground processing support services and expertise to the endeavor. Astrotech offers established infrastructure capabilities in pre-launch operations, which have serviced over 250 spacecraft since 1984, including use of below Class 10,000 clean room facilities, spacecraft checkout, encapsulation, fueling, transport, and remote control through launch.