After traveling thousands of miles, a major component of the International Space Station is set to begin preparations for launch.
The Experiment Logistics Module Pressurized Section for the Japanese Experiment Module arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Monday, March 12. The Japanese Experiment Module is composed of three segments and is known as Kibo, which means "hope" in Japanese.
Kibo is Japan's first human space facility and its primary contribution to the station. It will enhance the unique research capabilities of the orbiting complex by providing an additional environment in which astronauts can conduct science experiments. The Experiment Logistics Module Pressurized Section will serve as an on-orbit storage area for materials, tools and supplies. It can hold up to eight experiment racks and will attach to the top of another larger pressurized module.
The ship carrying the module departed Feb. 7 from Yokohama, Japan, for the United States. Kibo's various components will be assembled in space during the course of three shuttle missions. The first of those three missions, STS-123, will carry the Experiment Logistics Module Pressurized Section aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, targeted for launch in 2007.
Explore further: Planetary Society hopes tiny satellite sets sail above Earth