Multipurpose Pressurized Logistics Modules
The MPLM (Multipurpose Pressurized Logistics Modules) - namely Leonardo, Raffaello and Donatello, provide a pressurized logistics system, each element being carried on by the Shuttle Orbiter, to transport supplies and materials between Earth and the Space Station (25 flights in 10 years).
Two docking mechanisms are installed on the module for the transfer between the ISS and the Shuttle using the mechanical arm system commanded from the Station. The MPLM can be visited and inhabited by the Crew during the entire mission duration (typically 12 days + margins).
Each MPLM is 6.6 meters long and 4.2 meters in diameter, with a total cargo capability of 9000 Kg). Each module is designed for an operational life of 10 years and 25 missionsThe complex design of the MPLM is a result of the many functions it must carry out in its operational life.
It has two main jobs:
- as a carrier, it must be able to fly several times;
- as a habitation module, it has to operate in orbit, guaranteeing the astronauts environmental and thermal control, atmosphere conditioning, fire identification and extinguishing, electrical power distribution, commands and data handling. The primary structure has an external micrometeorite protection system and is thermally insulated by a service of multi-layer blankets.
The payload is accommodated in removable and tiltable racks and the habitable volume available to the crew is equal to 31 cubic metres. Two docking mechanisms are installed on the module for the transfer between the ISS and the Shuttle using the mechanical arm system commanded from the Station.