Huntsville AL (SPX) Jun 24, 2022 NASA science research on the International Space Station reached...
The vital, versatile EXPRESS Racks - properly known as "EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to the Space Station" multipurpose payload shelving units - logged 1 million hours of combined powered duty on station.
"For more than 60 years, science has spurred NASA's technological innovation in space, firing our curiosity and furthering our reach into the cosmos," said Jody Singer, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the racks were developed, built, and tested.
"The EXPRESS Racks play a key role in making our astronauts safer and more comfortable while they live and work in orbit and continue to help us unlock practical benefits to science, medicine, and countless other aspects of everyday life on Earth."
"We rely on the expertise and talent at Marshall to optimize use of the space station, and the EXPRESS Racks are a major part of that work," said Joel Montalbano, International Space Station program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Joel Hardy, EXPRESS Racks project manager at Marshall, said his team is gratified to deliver such critical hardware - and to keep it operational, monitoring and upgrading component technology and software to yield science data for more than two decades.
Experiments in the racks are controlled by station crew or remotely by a cadre of two dozen specialized NASA team members in Marshall's Payload Operations Integration Center.
Astronauts relied on the shuttle's own highly versatile "Mid-deck lockers" to conduct numerous science experiments during more than 130 flights from 1981-2011 - and that hardware directly informed development of the EXPRESS Racks.
"We're taking everything we've learned on the racks during their first million hours of powered service on station - adapting and improving on that success for a new generation of explorers and a robust commercial space economy," Farris said.
The EXPRESS Racks are funded by NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, which leads crew and station operations for the agency.
The Boeing Company of Huntsville, working with Marshall engineers, built and tested the EXPRESS Racks at Marshall during development and early construction of the space station in the 1990s.