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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jul 18, 2005 11:18:51 GMT -6
New Device Will Allow Shuttle Crews Longer Station Visits
U.S. space shuttle crews will soon be able to stay at the international space station longer with the installation of a new power-transfer system that allows docked shuttles to use solar power from the space station instead of solely relying on electricity produced by the orbiters' fuel cells.
The Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) will make it possible to use the space station's solar arrays to supplement the orbiter's electrical power. The additional power will decrease the need for power output from a shuttle's fuel cells, which require liquid hydrogen and oxygen to operate. With this new capability, shuttles can stay docked at the station for nine to 12 days instead of the six- to seven-day period available with the current power transfer system.
"In essence, we are having the fuel cells throttle back and the space station will give more so we can save on power," said Eric Gietl, the SSPTS integration manager at Boeing, which built the system. "By having the station provide the orbiter power, we use less oxygen and less hydrogen needed to make electricity so we can stay docked for a longer period of time."