1 Mar 2011

Even in space, there’s a need for extra space

For residents of the Greater Toronto area that question whether or not they really need to rent out a storage unit, perhaps the installation of one in space will serve as a good example.

Today, astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery will put the finishing touches on the International Space Station by adding a storage module.

The storage unit, or as astronauts call it, the permanent multipurpose module, will hold warehouse equipment and spare components for the space station.

The space is large enough to house a school bus, as it's 21 feet long and 15 feet wide.

"We're bringing the assembly of the station to a close," astronaut Mike Barratt told Space.com in an in-flight news briefing held Sunday. "We're bringing the last U.S. module here, so this mission kind of marks a turning point where from now on, we're mostly using the station to get science, and a lot of engineering know-how."

The installation of the PMM will cap a 12-year construction project when the station's first module, Zarya, was delivered. At the time, it was used as a power source, but today it serves as another storage unit for the International Space Station.

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