Multi-Purpose Logistics Module - MPLM. Inside the MPLM. The module carries sixteen International Standard Payload Racks.
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos. 51,013 bytes. 635 x 393 pixels.
When the International Space Station (ISS) was redesigned again in 1993, it was decided to expand the original Mini-Pressurised Logistics Module design. The new Multi-Purpose Logistics Module was twice as long and could carry 9000kg of cargo to ISS. The European Space Agency also became a partner, since Alenia Spazio would use the same pressurised module and some thermal subsystems in the Columbus Orbiting Facility as well. In return, ESA provided three environmental control and life-support system units for use in the Multipurpose Logistics Module. The module carried sixteen International Standard Payload Racks.
Italy delivered the first 'Leonardo' Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to NASA in July 1998. Two more module -- 'Rafaelo' and 'Donatello' -- would also be delivered under the $300-million contract. Italian astronauts will receive greater use of the Station as well as crew training for two more ASI astronauts in return for the MPLM.
Article by Marcus Lindroos