NASA EXPRESS Racks Achieve 1 Million Hours of Service on Space Station

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron monitors experiments in one of the International Space Station’s 12 EXPRESS Racks during Expedition 66, which ran from October 2021 to March 2022. As many as 100 experiments at a time can be simultaneously conducted in the station’s full complement of racks, helping NASA achieve 1 million hours of powered EXPRESS Rack duty between 2001-2022. (Credits: NASA)

by Rick Smith
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA science research on the International Space Station reached an extraordinary milestone June 14.

The vital, versatile EXPRESS Racks – properly known as “EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to the Space Station” multipurpose payload shelving units – logged 1 million hours of combined powered duty on station. That’s the equivalent of nearly 115 years’ worth of scientific research completed in just two decades.

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Space Station Hardware Developers, Payload Support Teams Celebrate Two Decades of Success, Prepare for Third

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson conducts a science experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox during Expedition 51 in 2017. The glovebox is one of 15 space station science hardware facilities managed for the agency by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (Credits: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Ask International Space Station facility engineers and payload operations teams at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, what makes them proudest as they look back on two decades of developing and testing science hardware and providing real-time support for experiments on orbit. Many will instinctively glance upward, as if the source of that pride might be passing overhead at that moment, 250 miles up.

Just as often though, they look to one another.

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Last of NASA’s Vital, Versatile Science ‘EXPRESS Racks’ Heads to Space Station

Boeing engineers conduct checkout testing of NASA Basic EXPRESS Racks, the last of which will be delivered to the International Space Station in May aboard the Japanese HTV-9 resupply flight. The racks, developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have been integral to station science for 20 years — yielding a combined 85 years of rack operations. The 11th and final rack is expected to be in place and operational in fall 2020. (Credits: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — When the Japanese HTV-9 Kounotori cargo ship lifts off to deliver supplies and science equipment to the International Space Station, a landmark chapter in the station’s story will draw to a close — and a new chapter, helping to chart a course for Artemis-generation voyages into the solar system, will begin.

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