Article II: General Description of the SL Programme, Its Interface with the Space Shuttle, and Its Uses|
1. Summary description of the SL programme
The SL programme provides for the definition, design and development of mannable laboratory modules and unpressurised instrument platforms (pallets) suitable for accommodating instrumentation for conducting research and applications activities on Shuttle sortie missions. The SL module and SL pallet will be transported, either separately or together to and from orbit in the Shuttle payload bay and will be attached to and supported by the Shuttle orbiter throughout the mission. The module will be characterised by a pressurised environment (permitting the crew to work in shirt sleeves), a versatile capability for accommodating laboratory and observatory equipment at minimum cost to users, and rapid access for users. The pallet, supporting telescopes, antennae and other instruments and equipments requiring direct space exposure, will normally be attached to the module with its experiments remotely operated from the module, but can also be attached directly to the Shuttle orbiter and operated from the orbiter cabin or the ground. Both the module and the pallet will assure minimum interference with Shuttle orbiter ground turnaround operations.
2. Interface with Shuttle
The Shuttle will: serve in missions to deliver payloads to earth orbit; maintain station on orbit for mission durations in the order of seven days or more; provide safety monitoring and control over payload elements throughout the missions; and provide seating and complete habitability for crews, including free movement between the SL module and the Shuttle. In the interest of minimising developmental and operational costs, and maximising reliability, an effort will be made to optimise commonality between SL and Shuttle components.
3. Use objectives
The SL will support a wide spectrum of missions for peaceful purposes and will accept readily the addition of special equipment for particular mission requirements. The SL will facilitate maximum user involvement and accessibility. The flight equipment complement will be capable of augmentation as appropriate to satisfy approved programme needs. It will be possible for users to utilise the SL with or without supplementary equipment for a single experiment or, in the alternative, to utilise only a small portion of the SL in combination with other experiments. The standard resources of the SL may be utilised to any degree appropriate by an experimenter adhering to standardised interfaces which are to be defined and procedures which are to be set forth. Considerable flexibility in equipment and mission structuring shall be available to the user for effective mission operation.