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Structural Verification of the First Orbital Wonder of the World - The Structural Testing and Analysis of the International Space Station (ISS)The International Space Station (ISS) can be considered one of the structural engineering wonders of the world. On par with the World Trade Center, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Statue of Liberty, the Great Pyramids, the Petronas towers and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper of Dubai, the ambition and scope of the ISS structural design, verification and assembly effort is a truly global success story. With its on-orbit life projected to be from its beginning in 1998 to the year 2020 (and perhaps beyond), all of those who participated in its development can consider themselves part of an historic engineering achievement representing all of humanity. The structural design and verification of the ISS could be the subject of many scholarly papers. Several papers have been written on the structural dynamic characterization of the ISS once it was assembled on-orbit [1], but the ground-based activities required to assure structural integrity and structural life of the individual elements from delivery to orbit through assembly and planned on-orbit operations have never been totally summarized. This paper is intended to give the reader an overview of some of the key decisions made during the structural verification planning for the elements of the U.S. On-Orbit Segment (USOS) as well as to summarize the many structural tests and structural analyses that were performed on its major elements. An effort is made for this paper to be summarily comprehensive, but as with all knowledge capture efforts of this kind, there are bound to be errors of omission. Should the reader discover any of these, please feel free to contact the principal author. The ISS (Figure 1) is composed of pre-integrated truss segments and pressurized elements supplied by NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Each of these elements was delivered to orbit by a launch vehicle and connected to one another either robotically or autonomously. The primary structure of each element was assembled and verified by teams of responsible structural engineers within and among their respective agencies and agency contractors.
Document ID
20110013394
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Authors
Zipay, John J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Bernstein, Karen S. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Bruno, Erica E. (United Space Alliance Houston, TX, United States)
Deloo, Phillipe (European Space Agency. European Space Research and Technology Center, ESTEC Noordwijk, Netherlands)
Patin, Raymond (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2012
Subject Category
Structural Mechanics
Report/Patent Number
JSC-CN-23255
Meeting Information
53rd AIAA Structures, Strutural Dynamics and Materials Conference(Honolulu, HI)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.

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