NASA plans ISS expansion

NASA has signed a $46m contract with Russia’s RSC Energia for hardware that will be integrated into the International Space Station (ISS).


NASA has signed a $46m contract with Russia’s RSC Energia for hardware that will be integrated into the International Space Station.



The basic contract includes $19m to purchase a Russian-designed toilet system with a privacy enclosure and additional space station equipment.



The additional equipment includes a spare depress air pump used to conserve air when the crew exits the Quest airlock for a spacewalk; technical and engineering support for the mechanism that allows shuttles to dock with the station; software updates for the station’s inventory management system; and certification of additional computer hardware for use on the station.



The toilet system, similar to the one already in use in the station’s Zvezda Service Module, is needed for the planned expansion from three to six crew members in 2009. The system will be able to automatically transfer urine to a device that can generate potable water.



The contract runs through December 2011 and includes funds to procure equipment necessary for routine maintenance.