SCIENCE: The 30,800 pound, $183 million segment is the product of Boeing's Huntington Beach plant.

The Orange County Register

Orange County's greatest contribution to the International Space Station, the orbiting outpost's 30,800-pound "heart" has been completed and will be flown to Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Thursday for final tests. The mechanical heart is the 44 foot centerpiece of the 356-foot aluminum frame that will link the station's living quarters, laboratories and solar arrays. The $183 million segment will be trucked from the Boeing Co.'s Huntington' Beach plant to Los Alamitos Army Airfield on Thursday morning and transported east aboard an oversized cargo plane called Super Guppy. "We call S-0 the heart because most of the station's power,
data and life-support cables flow through it," said Keith Takahashi, a Boeing spokesman. About eight miles of electrical wire will course through the station's aluminum backbone, collecting and distributing energy from eight solar panels. Boeing constructed three sections of the spine in Huntington Beach, including S-0, which includes two of the gyroscopes that will keep the station in proper orbit. Local workers also built the passageway between Zarya and Unity, the two station pieces now in orbit, and Unity's shuttle docking bay. S-0 is scheduled to be sent into orbit in 2001, along with a Canadian-made robotic arm that will slide along the spine like a railroad car, transporting pieces and equipment. But the National Aeronautics and Space Administration says the launch could be delayed because Russian engineers have been slow in completing other key sections that need to go up first.

Register science writer Gary Robbins can be reached at (714) 796-7970. E-mail:

Reprinted From The Orange County Register- June 9, 1999

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