Thales Alenia Space’s Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) getting ready for launch to the International Space Station
Launch scheduled for November 1 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Cannes - Thales Alenia Space announced today that the official ceremony marking the conversion of the Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Leonardo into a Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) and its transfer of ownership from Italian space agency ASI to American counterpart NASA, was held last week at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The PMM acceptance process was completed last week, after an intensive series of modifications and tests carried out under tight deadlines, concurrently with NASA’s preparations for the STS-133/ULF5 mission. Launch from the Kennedy Space Center is now slated for November 1, 2010
“The conversion of the Leonardo module clearly reflects our company’s singular expertise in the production of space infrastructures, a sector in which we have earned global recognition for reliability and safety,” said Luigi Maria Quaglino, Thales Alenia Space’s Senior Vice President for Space Infrastructures and Transportation.
Performed by Thales Alenia Space Italy, the MPLM to PMM conversion involved three major modifications:
* The first and most extensive change was preparing the PMM to be able to stay in orbit for an additional ten years, exposed to the demanding space environment: its Micrometeorite Debris Protection system was enhanced to meet new requirements, and all components and subsystems were recertified.
* The module’s interior was made more user-friendly to enhance equipment accessibility for crew members; the PMM will also host fluid mechanics, material science, biology and biotechnology experiments.
* The module’s weight was reduced as much as possible by eliminating unnecessary hardware for the long-duration stay in orbit, so that it could carry additional cargo on the STS-133 mission.
Working with NASA, Thales Alenia Space also provides support services during final testing and launch preparation of the PMM. Support operations will continue throughout the mission through the Altec Center, a joint venture formed by Thales Alenia Space, ASI and state-owned companies in the Piedmont region of Italy.
Thales Alenia Space has built a number of key parts of the International Space Station at its facility in Turin, Italy. In addition to the three Multipurpose Pressurized Logistics Modules (MPLM) Leonardo, Raffaello and Donatello, Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for Nodes 2 and 3 and the Cupola. It is also heavily involved in the ISS program as one of the main manufacturers for the Columbus scientific laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). Because of its excellent performance on these projects, plus an extensive track record in space infrastructures, last year Thales Alenia Space won a major NASA contract, via Orbital Sciences Corporation, for the design and construction of nine pressurized modules as part of the Commercial Resupply Services program, Cygnus.
About Thales Alenia Space
The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups’ “Space Alliance”. Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2009 and has a total of 7,200 employees located in 9 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
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