NASA Rejects European ISS Module Addition

NASA has rejected a European plan to add a new module to the International Space Station due to cost and scheduling concerns, Flight Global reports.

The European Space Agency had proposed permanently attaching an Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module filled with spare parts and supplies to the station in January 2010. The module, named Raffaello, would be transported to the station by the space shuttle Discovery.

MPLM’s are usually temporarily attached to the station, where crews empty out cargo and fill them with equipment and waste for return to Earth. Under the plan, Raffaello would be upgraded with micrometeorite shielding and other equipment so it could stay on orbit permanently.

Officials are concerned about keeping the station supplied with parts and equipment once the space shuttle stops flying in 2010. However, NASA rejected the idea because of the added costs and the changes it would cause to the station assembly sequence, which is entering its final stage.