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About Kibo

Development Stages

Last Updated: September 25, 2008

The Kibo development process is divided into three stages: Basic development test stage, Engineering Model (EM) production and test stage, and Proto Flight Model (PFM) production and test stage.

(1) Development and basic test stage

Accessibility evaluation test by a mockup

Accessibility evaluation test by a mockup

During the development and basic test stage, a full-scale mockup or Breadboard Model (BBM) is developed to obtain necessary data. The purposes of this stage are to examine the structure which is important for development, to study functions of electronic circuits, and to confirm whether the basic design specification is appropriate or not. A breadboard model is a simplified model which utilizes general purpose parts or materials, not intended for space.

(2) EM production and test stage

EF Engineering Model

EF Engineering Model

During the EM production and test stage, mechanical and electrical design specifications and test procedures are established, and an engineering model, which resembles a proto flight model, was built in order to establish production procedure and useful data were obtained. During approved model tests, conditions severer than in actual operation were imposed so that any hidden design faults might be discovered. As stated above, during the EM production and test stage, the design and production procedure were confirmed to be suitable for producing hardware and software compatible with engineering requirements. From this stage, Kibo development entered the PFM production and test stage.

With the end of the total system test held in Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC) in Oct. 1998 which integrated all the components, all of the EM production and test stage activities were completed.

Tests performed on the Engineering Model (EM) of Kibo External Facility (EF) are as follows;

NO.1 Outlook of EF engineering model (EM) system This is a picture of an outlook of EF engineering model. To reduce development cost, components developed for basic tests conducted in former development stage or components and materials developed for the purpose on the ground use, Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) , are being utilized partially with a condition that they do not disturb the purpose of the checkout.
NO.2 EF engineering module System Functional/Pperformance test
EM System Functional/Performance test is intended to verify whether EF system satisfies the electrical and mechanical requirements.
NO.3 EF engineering module System Thermal Vacuum test
System thermal test is intended to evaluate that whole EF system satisfies the specified performance against thermal vacuum environment expected during operation of EF. This test was conducted in a thermal vacuum chamber that can simulate thermal and vacuum environment similar to real space.
NO.4 EF engineering module System Electromagnetic Compatibility test
Electromagnetic compatibility test is intended to evaluate that electromagnetic interference characteristics among devices composing EF or between external electric devices satisfy the requirement.
NO.5 Extravehicular Activity weightless simulation test
Extravehicular Activity weightless simulation test simulates EVA tasks by utilizing neutral buoyancy in water. This test is conducted in order to evaluate accessibility during EVA. Photo shows a scene of ORU exchange.


(3) PFM production and test stage

Proto Flight Model or PFM of Kibo's PM

Proto Flight Model or PFM of Kibo's PM

During the PFM production and test stage, actual models to be attached to International Space Station (ISS) will be manufactured. In this stage, various tests will be conducted in conditions simulating the actual operation environment, to confirm that an actual flight model manufactured according to the design specifications and to the manufacturing procedure established on the EM stage has no material defects or manufacturing procedure problems.

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