Spacelab, Instrument Pointing System

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

Space Science

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.