Space Station Freedom History

In April 1984, the newly established Space Station Program Office at Johnson Space Center produced a first reference configuration; this design would serve as a baseline for further planning. The chosen design was the “Power Tower”, a long central keel with most mass located at either end. This arrangement would provide enough gravity gradient stability to keep the station aligned with the keel pointed towards the Earth, reducing the need for thruster firings. Most designs featured a cluster of modules at the lower end and a set of articulated solar arrays at the upper end. It also contained a servicing bay. In April 1985, the program selected a set of contractors to carry out definition studies and preliminary design; various trade-offs were made in this process, balancing higher development costs against reduced long-term operating costs.

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