The Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) 'KIBO' is the first
Japanese manned experimental facility and will be docked to the International
Space Station in 2008. Kibo means 'Hope' in Japanese.
ISS uses of Kibo:
1. Observation of Earth’s Environment
One of the most important experiments planned for KIBO is the
observation of Earth’s environment. Our planet is faced with serious
environmental problems such as the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming
and desertification. KIBO will enable us to study these problems from space in
order to find clues to how to solve them. Scientists will study trace gases that
deplete the ozone layer and observe short waves (sub-millimetre waves) emitted
2. Microgravity Experiments
Microgravity experiments conducted in space will produce larger
and more uniformly-sized protein crystals which will help us understand disease
mechanisms and develop new medicines. KIBO will also be the site of studies on
the influence of microgravity and radiation on plants, animals and humans and
experiments in robotics, communications and energy.
3. Materials Processing and Life Science Research
Japanese materials processing and life science research will be
conducted in the Japanese Experiment Module, which also has an external
platform, airlock and robotic manipulator for "in-space" or exposed experiments.
4. Feature World’s Largest Wide-Angle X-ray Camera
The world’s largest wide-angle X-ray camera will be mounted on
the platform to make observations of space and examine phenomena beyond our
galaxy and refine our map of the distribution of the galaxies.
Japanese Experiment Module
consists of four components: two experimental facilities, the Pressurized Module
and Exposed Facility, logistics modules attached to each of them and a
Manipulator to be used for experiments or for Orbit Replaceable Units (ORU)
changeout tasks. Kibo has a scientific airlock through which experiments are
transferred and exposed to the external environment of space.
1. Pressurized Module
The Pressurized Module is the central part of Kibo in which
mainly experiments utilizing the microgravity environment are conducted. Ten
experiment racks equipped with various devices are located inside the
Pressurized Module. The Pressurized Module is 11.2m long and 4.4m in diameter,
about the size of a large sightseeing bus and will allow astronauts to work in a
comfortable environment with air composition and pressure similar to Earth’s.
2. Exposed Facility
The Exposed Facility will be a staging area for long-term
experiments in open space, as well as Earth and astronomical observations. The
Exposed Facility is a unique facility in that it enables astronauts to conduct
experiments with direct exposure to space without any modification.
3. Experiment Logistics Modules
The Experiment Logistics Modules (ELMs) serve as on-orbit
storage areas that house materials for experiments, maintenance tools and
supplies. The Pressurized Module and the Exposed Facility each have an ELM.
The Experiment Logistics Module (ELM) contain a pressurized
section to serve the Pressurized Module and an unpressurized section to serve
the Exposed Facility. It is placed atop the port side of the Pressurized Module
and is highly movable. It is intended as a storage and transportation module.
4. Remote Manipulator System
The Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS) serves as an arm to
support experiments conducted on the Exposed Facility. The main arm handles
large items, for delicate tasks, the small fine arm can attached at the end of
the main arm. The main arm is equipped with a TV camera which allows astronauts
to monitor the operation from inside the pressurized module.
The development of KIBO, mainly by the Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC),
is already in the final stages. The assembly of the airframe and the testing of
KIBO’s integrated systems have been completed and the functional test of the
airframe has been conducted at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in the United States.
Kibo experiments and systems will be operated from the Mission
Control Room at the Space Station Operations Facility (SSOF) at Tsukuba Space
Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, just north of Tokyo.
NASA plans to launch the entire Japanese Experiment Module
complex in three flights.