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Technical Paper

Modular Rack Design for Multiple Users

The Space Station program was faced with a unique design environment-to design a common systems and payload support structure that could accommodate changeout for repair or technology growth over a 30-year lifetime. The vibration environment and weight allocation for rack structure necessitated a lightweight, yet stiff structure. The design answer was a modular rack structure using graphite/epoxy composites and selected aluminum components that could support a wide variety of systems, payload and stowage functions. A modular set of mounting locations allow the installation of a wide variety of secondary structures without permanent modifications to the rack. Aircraft-style seat track rails on the front edges of the rack permit attachment of handrails, foot restraints and accessories such as lights, fans, clipboards or computers to the rack face.