Workers in Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3 are installing the Orbiter Docking System (ODS) in the payload bay of the orbiter Atlantis (OV-104). The ODS includes an airlock, a supporting truss structure, a docking base, and a Russian-built docking mechanism (uppermost). The ODS is nearly 15 feet (4.6 meters) wide, 6.5 feet (2 meters) long, 13.5 feet (4.1 meters high), and weighs more than 3,500 pounds (1,588 kilograms). It is being installed near the forward end of the orbiter's payload bay and will be connected by a short tunnel to the existing airlock inside the orbiter's pressurized crew cabin.The installation will take about two hours to complete. Later this week, the Spacelab module also will be installed in OV-104's payload bay; it will connect to the ODS via a tunnel. During the first docking between the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Space Station Mir, the Russian-built docking mechanism on the ODS will be mated to a similar interface on the Krystall module docking port on Mir, allowing crew members to pass back and forth between the two spacecraft. That Shuttle mission, STS-71, is scheduled for liftoff in early June. (Photo Release Date: 3/13/95 )

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