Spacelab, Instrument Pointing System


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Science exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

The Spacelab Instrument Pointing System (IPS) was a three-axis gimbaled mounting platform used on an exposed pallet in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle. It provided excellent pointing accuracy and stability for telescopes, cameras, and other scientific instruments attached to it.

The European Space Agency developed the IPS for the Spacelab program. Two IPS units were manufactured by Dornier, but only one was flown. The IPS displayed here was used on three missions: Spacelab 2 (1985), Astro-1 (1990), and Astro-2 (1995). NASA transferred it to the Museum when the Spacelab program ended.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Transferred from NASA Kennedy Space Center.


aluminum and steel structure; MLI multi-layer thermal insulation blankets (NOMEX, aluminized mylar, gold foil, etc.)


3-D: 210.8 x 269.2 x 320cm, 1134kg (83 in. x 106 in. x 10 ft. 6 in., 2500lb.)

Country of Origin

Federal Republic of Germany



Inventory Number