In October 2002, one of our spacecraft models was taken to the International Space Station to be used as a training aid for astronauts in preparation for their EVA. Here’s the press release that came out at the time:
A model spacecraft part produced in British Columbia as a training aid for space-walking astronauts is on the current Space Shuttle flight to the International Space Station (ISS). It marks the first time a Sunshine Coast company has flown an item into space.
The model spacecraft part, built by Proach Models in Sechelt, is a high-fidelity replica of what is called the “S1 Truss”. The actual truss, which is about 40 feet long, is being flown to the station and installed by astronauts on the STS-112 mission, which launched on October 7, 2002.
Altogether 11 sections of truss will be added to the ISS over a 4 year period and will span the length of a football field. The truss will house huge solar panels, heat-dispensing radiators, and a Canadian-made robot arm and mobile transporter.
The S1 truss model is almost a foot long, and is designed to help astronauts plot and plan their extra-vehicular activities (EVAs), or spacewalks when hooking up the S1 truss to another truss section which was installed on the ISS earlier this year. The model is scheduled to be used during an in-flight press conference as they explain mission details to the media. It may also be used by the crew as a briefing aid prior to the spacewalk to install the actual truss to the ISS.
The S1 model is equipped with EVA aides such as handholds, Work Interface Connections (WIFs), antennae and connection gear, just like the actual unit. This enables astronauts to know where vital hardware is located and what to look out for when installing the actual truss section in space. During training, astronaut crews slated to perform work on the ISS would first familiarize themselves with the various locations of these aides on the models and plot their spacewalks, then train underwater at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas, using full size mock-ups of the station components.
Proach Models is on contract to the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas to provide complete scale model sections of the entire ISS as training aides to the astronaut crews who will assemble the ISS.
Company owner Nick Proach says building the models of the ISS is quite a challenge. “They have to be very detailed, accurate, yet durable enough to fly in space and be handled numerous times.” Proach says, “We’re pleased to be working with NASA on this very worthwhile project. They’re a good organization to work with.”
Jeff Ashby, STS-112 mission commander says, “I’ll make sure we return the model with a few million miles on it.”
We are so honoured to have the opportunity to make model spacecraft and model spacecraft parts for NASA!