Exit airlock (End of the initial phase)


July 12, 2001
American exit airlock and completion of the initial
Vol 7A assembly phase ; STS-104

The primary objective of flight 7A / STS-104, launched on July 12, 2001, was to deliver and install the ISS exit airlock. This airlock will allow crew members aboard the International Space Station to conduct spacewalks, dressed in American or Russian space suits. Extravehicular activity (EVA) from the ISS is extremely important since astronauts and cosmonauts must be able to leave the Space Station in order to perform assembly, maintenance and repair operations requiring human intervention. Before the exit airlock was installed, only American suits could be used for EVA, from the shuttle,

The airlock, which is 6 meters long and weighs 6.5 tonnes, was attached to the right docking port of the Unity module (Node 1). It has two compartments: one for astronauts and cosmonauts to leave the Space Station and the other for equipment.

With the installation of the airlock, the first phase of the assembly of the International Space Station is completed. Zvezda service module, Zarya control module, Z1 fabric, Unity connection module and Destiny lab module are operational. Solar panels have been deployed. The Canadian Space Station Remote Manipulator will have been installed. With the airlock, the main interfaces between the space technologies of the 15 partner countries will have been established, facilitating the task of the stationauts in their daily research work