Technological Collaboration: Shuttle Mission to Add Key Component to Space Station
October 22, 2007 (LPAC)--If the weather cooperates tomorrow morning, the Space Shuttle Discovery will begin a 14-day mission to the International Space Station to add a key connecting node that will allow the assembly of European and Japanese science laboratories. The Harmony node, in Tinkertoy fashion, will be the attachment point for the Columbus lab built by the European Space Agency, and Kibo, built by Japan. The Harmony node will also add to the station's life support capabilities, to enable the crew to be expanded from the present complement of three. Additional crew members are needed to be able to carry out the scientific experiments the new laboratories provide for.[img:align=right;class=pictures;date=2007-10-22;desc="Inside+the+high+bay+of+the+Space+Station+Processing+Facility%2C+a+crane+carries+Harmony+toward+a+weight+stand.";layout=standard;pid=4527;size=article;source="NASA\/Jim+Grossman";src="\/files\/pictures\/7b89da924e0d5ba7d8f2a5a7f32d9fdb\/article.jpg";title="Main+Harmony+Node"]
On October 21, 2007 the two Russian members of the station's Expedition-15 crew boarded a spacecraft Soyuz parked at the station and returned to Earth. With them was Sheikh Muszaphar Shukar, Malaysia's first astronaut. His mission was watched closely and with great enthusiasm in Malaysia, and he hopes to play a role in encouraging science and math education after his return.