Built by Thales Alenia Space, Harmony was delivered to the ISS on STS-120 and installed in its final position on the U.S. Destiny science laboratory on 14 November. 2 days earlier, the astronauts had detached from Destiny pressurized adapter (PMA-2), a joint junction that allows shuttles to dock, to attach Harmony.
The external connections, covering electricity, computers and air conditioning have been made during the 2 walks of 20 and 24 November.
This node junction opens the door to a new stage in the construction of the station with the installation of the future European scientific laboratories (Columbus) and Japanese (Kibo). Columbus will be installed during the next mission of the shuttle Atlantis (STS-122), scheduled from December 6 to December 17
As to Kibo, its installation will be 3 times. In fact, the Japanese laboratory consists of 3 elements. A laboratory scientist pressurized by 11.2 m long with a diameter of 4.4 m equipped with a robotic arm and a lock-out in space, a platform door instrument and a pressurized module of experience ( ELM-PS) in the shape of a cylinder of 3.9 m.
In February 2008, astronauts Endeavor (STS-123) and temporarily install the pressurized module experience Harmony. In April 2008, during the STS-124 mission, the science laboratory Kibo (JEM-PM) and its robotic arm will be docked to Harmony. The pressurized module will be moved and installed in its final position on Kibo. Finally, the platform will be delivered on STS-127, scheduled for today in March 2009.
Weighing 14 tons at launch, Harmony is a pressurized cylinder is 7 meters long and 4.6 meters in diameter. It covers the living space and work station at about 500 cubic meters.
Harmony is a crucial element for the development of the orbital structure. It will not only enlarge the living space of the ISS but also provides access to 3 modules: the U.S. laboratory Destiny, the European science laboratory Columbus and the Japanese Kibo module. It will regulate and distribute the resources for these modules and laboratories and provide a support function of the crew and experience.
In addition, it will be used as an anchor for the vehicle
Japanese H II transfer to the mini-pressurized logistics modules
Italian MPLM and space shuttles, which moor at the adapter
Finally, it will serve as an anchor point for the robotic arm of the ISS (Canadarm2).
The structure of the Station is composed of 3 knots junction. The Node
1 was produced in the United States, while the design and
implementation of Nodes 2 and 3 (more complex) was awarded to ESA
(ESA). For the Node 2, ESA has asked the ASI
(Italian Space Agency) to coordinate the industrial team. Thales
Alenia Space, as prime contractor, is responsible for
design, development, testing and integration of Nodes 2
and 3 and also provides the necessary support to NASA during the
Final checks, preparing for the launch and the different
phases of the mission.