Boeing Supports Space Shuttle Discovery’s Final Mission


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Boeing Supports Space Shuttle Discovery’s Final Mission

By Jim Douglas

November 3, 2010 - Boeing engineers and technicians are supporting Space Shuttle Discovery’s final mission, in part by processing the shuttle’s payload, which includes the last U.S. pressurized element to be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS). Discovery will launch on its final mission to the ISS from Kennedy Space Center today.  

Boeing built Discovery nearly 30 years ago. Since then, the shuttle has flown 38 missions, traveled 142,917,535 miles, and accumulated nearly a full year of time on orbit. This latest Discovery mission coincides with the tenth anniversary of the arrival of the first crew at the station and the beginning of a decade of continuous human presence on orbit aboard ISS. Boeing has provided similar payload support since the beginning of the ISS program, for a total of 25 station expeditions. 

"Discovery is the fleet leader and its outstanding stamina is a testament to the men and women of Boeing who designed, developed and built the shuttle and continue to support it today," said Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space Exploration. "Working with our NASA customer, Boeing also is helping to provide much-needed capability on the International Space Station, ensuring it can be used to its full capacity for many years to come."


Boeing’s Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) team prepared Discovery’s mission payload, which includes the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) Leonardo and Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4). The CAPPS team collaborated with PMM builder Thales Alenia Space to adapt Leonardo into a permanent element that can accommodate additional spare parts and storage. The CAPPS team also assembled and integrated ELC4, which will provide additional storage for the orbiting complex.

The Boeing ISS team also worked with NASA and international partners to reconfigure various electrical and warning systems for full capability of the PMM during its support of ISS operations. Boeing supported power systems and routing through the Unity and Tranquility nodes. The services and support Boeing provides under its CAPPS contract include planning for and receiving payloads, maintaining associated ground support systems, integrating payloads with the space shuttle, launch support, and space shuttle post-landing payload activities. 

Boeing is NASA’s prime contractor for the ISS. In addition to designing and building the major U.S. elements, Boeing also is responsible for ensuring the successful integration of new hardware and software, including components from international partners as well as for providing sustaining engineering work.
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