International Space Station

Destiny Laboratory Module

An International Space Station Centerpiece

Destiny, the U.S. Laboratory moduleConsidered the centerpiece of the International Space Station, Destiny, the U.S. Laboratory module, is a world-class, state-of-the-art research facility in a microgravity environment. Destiny provides astronauts a year-round, shirtsleeve atmosphere for research in many areas including life sciences, microgravity sciences, Earth science and space science research. The facilities inside the lab are designed to yield a steady stream of findings from hundreds of high-quality science and technology experiments. It is the primary workstation for the United States involvement on the International Space Station. The lab was launched on flight 5A in February 2001.

Destiny comprises three cylindrical sections and two end-cones. Each end-cone contains a hatch opening through which the astronauts will enter and exit the lab.

Made of aluminum, the exterior of the laboratory module has a "waffle" pattern that strengthens the hull. It is covered with an insulation blanket to protect the module from the harsh temperatures of outer space.

An intermediate debris shield made of material similar to that of bullet proof vests protects the module against space debris and micrometeoroids.

An aluminum debris shield was placed over the intermediate debris shield for added protection and to reflect the intense sunlight to reduce the load on the air conditioning system.

Destiny, the U.S. Laboratory moduleInside, four "stand-off" structures provide space for power lines, data management systems, vacuum systems, air conditioning ducts, water lines and more, all supporting the space station's rack.

There are 24 racks inside the laboratory, six on each side. Thirteen are scientific racks dedicated to various science experiments and 11 racks provide power, cooling water, temperature and humidity control, as well as air revitalization to remove carbon dioxide and replenish oxygen.

Each rack is 73 inches (1.9 meters) tall and 42 inches (1.1 meters) wide, basically the size of the average household closet. Made with a graphite composite shell, racks inside the International Space Station lab weigh around 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms) each.

Boeing built the laboratory module, like the other U.S. modules for the International Space Station, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. It was shipped to the Kennedy Space Center in November 1998 for final launch preparation.

When it was launched aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis, Destiny had five of the eleven system racks installed. On the following shuttle flight (5A.1), the six additional system racks will be delivered in a smaller module called the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM).

A single, 20-inch round window is located on one side of the module's center cylinder. It is made of the highest quality optical glass ever used in a crewed spacecraft. This window offers a remarkable vantage-point to observe the Earth as the International Space Station passes overhead at a 51.6-degree inclination above and below the equator.

Major scientific facilities inside the laboratory module include biotechnology, fluids and combustion, a space station furnace facility, human research facility and a gravitational biology facility.

U.S. Laboratory Module - The Tape Measure
Length: 28 feet 8.5 meters
W/attached CBM 30.2 feet 9.2 meters
Width: 14 feet diameter 4.3 meters
Weight: 32,000 pounds 14,515 kilograms
Exterior: Aluminum  
Number of racks inside: 24 (13 scientific and 11 system)  
Windows: 1 - 20" in diameter 50.9 centimeters

Please see Boeing Backgrounder "Science On Station" for a full description of the scientific work that will take place on International Space Station.