The Permanent Logistics Module (PMM), the Italian Space Agency element derived from the Multipurpose Logistics Modules (MPLM) built by Thales Alenia Space for NASA, has been successfully relocated on the International Space Station (ISS) from Node 1 to Node 3. The latter node was also built by Thales Alenia Space.
Thales Alenia Space was the prime contractor for the MPLM and, since then, has teamed up with ALTEC to provide engineering support to NASA for all associated activities. Thales Alenia Space and ALTEC have been extensively involved in the major ISS reconfiguration, mainly involving the Nodes, under a contract with the European Space Agency.
After internal reconfiguration of Node 3 to provide the resources needed for the PMM, and a spacewalk, or Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), for the Node 3 external re-configuration, the PMM was deactivated. It was grappled by the Space Station's robotic arm and transferred in a few hours to the new location, where it was returned to a nominal active configuration.
All these activities are occurring at the same time as Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti's stay on the ISS. She is in charge of most internal reconfiguration operations for the Nodes.
The relocated PMM is just one of several steps designed to reconfigure the ISS, making Node 2 the element used for docking of next-generation crew vehicles, and Node 3 the resource management element. This will apply not only to the Cupola, but also any new elements that will expand the Space Station to validate new technologies for deep space human exploration.
According to Luigi Maria Quaglino, Senior Vice President, Exploration and Science: “The success of this operation is again a source of great pride for Italy, given the role of Thales Alenia Space on the International Space Station and the performance of all elements we supplied, starting in 2001 with the first MPLM. Thanks to this operational performance and flexibility, and the ground and flight crews' ability to undertake unplanned reconfiguration activities, the ISS is ready for new challenges concerning the manned environment in LEO and beyond. Thales Alenia Space will participate in new, related activities to improve the Space Station's capabilities as a test bed for new experiments and further exploration”.
Date: May 28, 2015