Japanese Experiment Module
Japanese materials processing and life science research will be conducted in the Japanese Experiment Module, which also has an external platform, airlock and robotic manipulator for "in-space" or exposed experiments.
The Space Shuttle began carrying all of the Japanese Experiment Module's parts and equipment into orbit beginning in 2001:
- Experiment Logistics Module, designed to carry pressurized and unpressurized cargo.
- Pressurized Module, the primary Japanese contribution to the International Space Station. Included in the Module will be the initial experiments that will be housed in the racks delivered in the Experiment Logistics Module.
- Remote Manipulator System, a 32.5-ft. long robotic arm attached to the Pressurized Module that will be used for placing and manipulating experiments on the lab's "back porch," the Exposed Facility.
- Exposed Facility, the external platform for up to 10 unpressurized experiments that are exposed to one, some or all of space's hostile variables -- temperature extremes, unfiltered radiation, lack of oxygen and others.
The Pressurized Module has 23 racks, 13 of which are for storage and systems operations. Experiments claim the remaining ten, five of which will be for use by the National Space Development Agency of Japan, the other half by NASA.
It is designed for a crew of two, but can accommodate four. The Pressurized Module has the same utilities and experiment support equipment as the U.S. Lab, plus a unique means of actively cooling experiments. It also carries carbon dioxide, argon and helium gases and an airlock for changing out samples or experiments on the Exposed Facility.
The Exposed Facility is attached to the Pressurized Module and often is referred to as the Module's "back porch." Many of its experiments are designed to be handled by the Japanese Experiment Module's Remote Manipulator System, relieving astronauts of the need to conduct spacewalks when changing or manipulating them.