Encyclopedia Astronautica
Spacehab



shabi.jpg
Spacehab
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos
shstsmir.jpg
Spacehab
Shuttle/Spacehab rendezvous with the Mir space station.
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos
spchab86.jpg
Spacehab
Spacehab expansion modules for the Space Station.
Credit: NASA via Marcus Lindroos
American manned space station module. 14 launches, 1993.06.21 (Spacehab SH-01) to 1999.05.27 (Spacehab-DM). Founded by Bob Citron in 1982, Spacehab Inc. was the only entrepreneurial company to successfully develop a commercial manned spaceflight module.

Spacehab was initially formed to develop a 5000 kg pressurized module derived from ESA's Spacelab. The 3 meter long Spacehab module was carried inside the Shuttle cargo bay and provides 28.3 cubic meters of expanded habitable space for experiments and logistics transport to space stations.

NASA agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding in December 1985, but its agreement with the European Space Agency prevented it from using competitive systems such as Spacehab's before 1989.

Consequently, the company signed contracts with the main European Spacelab contractors (MBB/ERNO and Aeritalia) to take a share in Spacehab as well as serve as prime contractors. By 1986 some $1 million had been spent on the project and the company initiated negotiations with NASA, claiming some 350 customers had expressed interest in using the module. NASA turned down a request from Spacehab for Shuttle launches on a deferred payment basis in 1987, and also briefly considered canceling other commercial agreements with Space Industries Inc. and 3M as well. The agency informed Spacehab that no launches would be available before 1995 since the Shuttle was extremely overbooked following the Challenger accident. Spacehab then tried to sign up priority customers such as the Defense Department which would have forced NASA to assign Spacehab to an earlier flight. However, President Reagan's National Space Policy from February 1988 specifically ordered NASA to 'make best efforts' to launch Spacehab's $65-70 million cargo module on the Shuttle in the early 1990s. Federal regulations required NASA to open the expansion module to competition but Spacehab provided the only response by the 30 April 1990 deadline. NASA then agreed in principle to launch six commercial Spacehab flights by 1995, but the company initially found it difficult to raise capital.

Spacehab finally signed a contract with NASA in December 1990 to lease two-thirds of the payload space for $184 million. An important mission was hardware tests for Space Station Freedom; the module could carry up to four Space Station-type experiment racks. NASA agreed to launch Spacehab eight times at a cost of $28.2 million per flight. More than $20 million had already been spent on the project by this time, and Chase Manhattan Bank agreed to provide a further $75 million after Spacehab offered to buy insurance if Congress cancelled the project. The company paid a 20% premium. Spacehab was almost cancelled in January 1992 when the House and Senate panels with NASA oversight indicated Congress only would pay $25 million in 1992 and $35 million in 1993. NASA had requested $39 million and $50 million, respectively. The House and Senate reached a compromise in March which allocated a $40 million budget for Spacehab in Fiscal Year 1992, and the investors (who had spent $44 million at that point plus another $50 million borrowed from Chase Manhattan Bank) said they were satisfied with the project's progress.

The company then unveiled its first Spacehab module in May 1992. The partners expected to make a profit after six flights, which had been bought by NASA in 1990. Under the agreement, Spacehab bought launch services from NASA and leased capacity to users for $1.76 million per experiment locker. Each module had 50 lockers and a dedicated flight thus costs $79.8 million. The first flight took place in June 1993, but with 98% of the facility occupied by experiments managed and paid for by NASA.

The company also investigated concepts other than the basic augmented Shuttle module, including Spacehab expansion modules for the Space Station. In 1986, Spacehab estimated a basic module would cost $15 million, rising to $40 million for a not-yet-approved advanced model that would have contained thermal control and augmented power and life support systems. The total cost of three basic modules was to be $50 million and Spacehab proposed a first mission in 1988 followed by three in 1989 and four in 1990. Proposed missions included Space Station technology testing and augmented 'construction shack' living quarters for assembly workers. NASA's problems with the Shuttle and Space Station forced the company to delay its first launch until 1994 while the space station module had to be cancelled.

NASA signed a $54-million contract with Spacehab Inc. in August 1995 for Shuttle/Mir logistics flights. The deciding factor was Spacehab's faster turnaround between missions. Spacehab remained an active participant in the Shuttle/International Space Station program. The company proposed a new $30-40 million docking/logistics double module that would make it possible for the Shuttle to reboost the Space Station by 16 km per docking as opposed to just 4.8 kilometers. Spacehab was also collaborating with Russia on a commercial 'Enterprise' laboratory module.

Article by Marcus Lindroos

Gross mass: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb).
Height: 3.00 m (9.80 ft).
Span: 4.50 m (14.70 ft).
First Launch: 1993.06.21.
Last Launch: 1999.05.27.
Number: 14 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • International Space Station American manned space station. Development from 1994. Assembled in orbit from 1998, with completion expected 2010. In 1987-1993 the Russians successfully assembled and operated the 124-metric ton Mir station. More...

See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...
  • US Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favoured the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA Houston American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Houston, Houston, USA. More...
  • Spacehab American manufacturer of spacecraft. Spacehab, Inc. , Houston, Houston, USA More...

Associated Programs
  • ISS Finally completed in 2010 after a torturous 25-year development and production process, the International Space Station was originally conceived as the staging post for manned exploration of the solar systrem. Instead, it was seemed to be the death knell of manned spaceflight. More...
  • Mir The Mir space station was the last remnant of the once mighty Soviet space programme. It was built to last only five years, and was to have been composed of modules launched by Proton and Buran/Energia launch vehicles. These modules were derived from those originally designed by Chelomei in the 1960's for the Almaz military station programme. As the Soviet Union collapsed Mir stayed in orbit, but the final modules were years late and could only be completed with American financial assistance. Kept flying over a decade beyond its rated life, Mir proved a source of pride to the Russian people and proved the ability of their cosmonauts and engineers to improvise and keep operations going despite all manner of challenges and mishaps. More...
  • STS The Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle) was conceived originally as a completely reusable system that would provide cheap, routine access to space and replace all American and civilian military launch vehicles. Crippled by technological overreach, political compromise, and budget limitations, it instead ended up costing more than the expendable rockets it was to have replaced. STS sucked the money out of all other NASA projects for half a century. The military abandoned its use after the Challenger shuttle explosion in the 1980's. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Report (Internet Newsletter), Harvard University, Weekly, 1989 to Present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA GSFC Orbital Parameters,
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39B Shuttle, Saturn V, Saturn I launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program in 1963-1966. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39A Shuttle, Saturn V launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. Construction began in December 1963. Complex 39A was completed on 4 October 1965. Complex 39A supported two unmanned and nine manned Saturn V/Apollo missions between 9 November 1967 and 8 December 1972. The site also supported the launch of the Skylab space station on 14 May 1973. Both complexes were modified to support Space Shuttle missions later on. Complex 39A supported the first Space Shuttle launch on 12 April 1981. More...

Spacehab Chronology


1993 June 21 - . 13:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-57.
  • Spacehab SH-01 - . Payload: Spacehab 1. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1993-07-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 22684 . COSPAR: 1993-037xx. Apogee: 472 km (293 mi). Perigee: 391 km (242 mi). Inclination: 28.5000 deg. Period: 93.20 min.

1994 February 3 - . 12:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-60.
  • Spacehab SH-02 - . Payload: Spacehab 2. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1994-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 22977 . COSPAR: 1994-006xx. Apogee: 359 km (223 mi). Perigee: 350 km (210 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 91.60 min.

1995 February 3 - . 05:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-63.
  • Spacehab SH-03 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1995-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 23469 . COSPAR: 1995-004xx. Apogee: 390 km (240 mi). Perigee: 386 km (239 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.30 min.

1996 March 22 - . 08:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-76.
  • Spacehab-SM - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Flight: STS-76; Mir NASA-1; Mir EO-21. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1996-03-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 23831 . COSPAR: 1996-018xx. Apogee: 398 km (247 mi). Perigee: 34 km (21 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 88.80 min.

1996 May 19 - . 10:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-77.
  • Spacehab 4 - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1996-05-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 23870 . COSPAR: 1996-032xx. Apogee: 285 km (177 mi). Perigee: 274 km (170 mi). Inclination: 39.0000 deg. Period: 90.10 min.

1996 September 16 - . 08:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-79.
  • Spacehab Double Module - . Payload: Spacehab FU2/STA. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1996-09-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 24324 . COSPAR: 1996-057xx. Apogee: 386 km (239 mi). Perigee: 368 km (228 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.10 min. Summary: Remained attached to OV-104.

1997 January 12 - . 09:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-81.
  • Spacehab Double Module - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1997-01-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 24711 . COSPAR: 1997-001xx. Apogee: 380 km (230 mi). Perigee: 343 km (213 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.80 min.

1997 May 15 - . 08:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-84.
  • Spacehab Double Module - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1997-05-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 24804 . COSPAR: 1997-023xx. Apogee: 393 km (244 mi). Perigee: 377 km (234 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 92.20 min.

1997 September 26 - . 02:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-86.
  • Spacehab Double Module - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1997-10-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 24964 . COSPAR: 1997-055xx. Apogee: 381 km (236 mi). Perigee: 354 km (219 mi). Inclination: 51.6000 deg. Period: 91.90 min. Summary: Remained attached to OV-104.

1998 January 23 - . 02:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-89.
  • Spacehab Double Module - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. COSPAR: 1998-003xx.

1998 June 2 - . 22:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-91.
  • Spacehab - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1998-06-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 25356 . COSPAR: 1998-034xx. Apogee: 373 km (231 mi). Perigee: 350 km (210 mi). Inclination: 51.7000 deg. Period: 91.80 min.
  • Spacehab - . Payload: Spacehab FU1. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mir. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. COSPAR: 1998-034xx.

1998 October 29 - . 19:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-95.
  • Spacehab - . Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Houston. Manufacturer: Douglas. Program: STS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. Decay Date: 1981-04-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 25519 . COSPAR: 1998-064xx. Apogee: 560 km (340 mi). Perigee: 550 km (340 mi). Inclination: 28.4000 deg. Period: 95.75 min.

1999 May 27 - . 10:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle STS-96.
  • Spacehab-DM - . Payload: Spacehab-DM. Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: ISS. Class: Manned. Type: Manned space laboratory. Spacecraft: Spacehab. COSPAR: 1999-030x.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use