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For Release: Nov. 3, 1998
Visit Full-Scale Mock-Up of International Space Station
at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Ala., Nov. 14
Visitors can "experience" how astronauts will work and live aboard the International Space Station when full-scale, walk-through mock-ups of the Station's Laboratory and crew living quarters are open free to the public Saturday, Nov. 14, in Huntsville, Ala.
The hands-on NASA exhibit - contained in two 48-foot trailers - will be open on Saturday during the Alabama A&M University and Alcorn State University football game. The exhibit is a featured part of NASA Day for high school seniors visiting Alabama A&M from across the Southeast.
The public is also invited to view the exhibit. Alabama A&M will charge $3 to park in the vicinity of the stadium where the exhibit will be located.
The first parts of the real Space Station are scheduled to be launched this month - marking the beginning of several years of assembling the mammoth Station in Earth orbit.
Now, those of us on Earth can get a glimpse into the future.
"Our Space Station replica is as realistic as we can make it - without removing gravity," said John Dumoulin (pronounced DOO-muh-lin), exhibits manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "Walk into this exhibit, and you'll get a feel for what it will be like to be an astronaut aboard the Space Station."
Visitors will walk away with new knowledge of how science research aboard the Space Station will lead to a better quality of life on Earth, through improved health care and treatment, next-generation commercial products and better manufacturing processes.
The crew's living quarters is where the international team of astronauts and researchers will sleep, exercise, relax and prepare their meals. One can step into the astronauts' shower and bathroom compartments, peer into storage drawers, zip-up in an astronaut sleeping bag and peer out a porthole at the Earth.
Then pass through the connector into the Space Station's sophisticated science laboratory.
"This laboratory represents what the International Space Station is all about," said Dumoulin. "It will be a permanent orbiting science institute, where long-duration materials and life sciences research will be conducted. The Space Station will accelerate breakthroughs in science, technology and engineering - with practical applications for us back here on Earth."
Along the walls of the exhibit's laboratory, visitors will see racks of scientific experiments and research facilities similar to those that will flyaboard the Station. It is here where life sciences research will take place - where the basic workings of the human body will be studied to learn better ways to adapt to living in space. These studies also can lead to improved treatments for people who suffer from physical disabilities on Earth.
As visitors glance at the racks of experiments, they can ask the NASA staff about the study of cell and tissue growth in space - investigations that will help scientists better understand the role gravity plays in how cells join together to create healthy or unhealthy tissue.
Look above and below at the racks mounted in the floor and ceiling. These depict facilities that will help scientists study materials and fluids. Aboard the Space Station, scientists will conduct experiments to find better ways to produce electronic materials such as semiconductors and superconductors, and crystals for lasers, computer chips and solar cells. Other Space Station experiments will examine the behavior of fluids in microgravity.
The International Space Station is the largest international science and technology endeavor in history, drawing on the resources and scientific expertise of the United States, Canada, Japan, 11 European countries, Russia and Brazil.
NOTE TO EDITORS / NEWS DIRECTORS: NASA representatives will be available for interviews on-site. NASA managers are available for telephone or television interviews to explain how Space Station research could one day improve the quality of life for people in your community. For additional information, to set up interviews or request photos or video, please call Tim Tyson at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at (256) 544-0994 or the Marshall Space Flight Center Media Relations Office at (256)544-0034.