The Development of a Space Shuttle General Purpose Work Station (GPWS) 831090

The use of the European Space Agency's Spacelab aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Transportation System offers the opportunity for the world's scientific community to conduct a broad scope of experiments in a zero gravity earth orbit environment. Included in these experiments will be many in the life sciences area, and these will need equipment which will allow working in this specialized environment. This paper describes the design and testing of a General Purpose Work Station (GPWS) which will provide a facility that allows experiments to be conducted in the Spacelab. It is intended primarily to support life science experiments, although support of many others is possible. The GPWS provides both experiment and operator biological protection and a “clean room” environment, controls liquids in zero gravity, controls experiment chemical vapors thus preventing Spacelab cabin contamination, and provides a working area with lights and other user accommodations. Either 1 or 2 operators can be accommodated in the zero gravity neutral body position. The unit is self-contained and is mounted in a double ESA rack. The Design Verification Unit has been built and tested. The flight unit has been designed and is being manufactured. The description includes both units.


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