2010-04-14

Columbus Manned-Tended Free Flyer (MTFF) - v1

 MTFF addon by 4throck for Orbiter Space Flight Simulator


This add-on is based on the final MTFF proposals and illustrations, and on the related hardware that was actually built and flown.

It features a single docking port at the front, a pressurized module (with a virtual cockpit based on Spacelab) and a power and propulsion module based on the Eureca platform. I’ve tried to approximate the Radio-frequency Ion Thruster Assembly (RITA) used for orbit raising and station keeping, so maneuvers will be very slow. Nevertheless I’ve added weak RCS jets to simplify docking procedures.

On general this add-on is designed to test the concept of a space station with a VC. It’s recommended to use CameraMDF and simulate external views on the module’s interior display screens. Also, there’s a small view port that can be visited using Firstperson module, for example.

Included scenarios feature the MTFF in orbit and docked to the Space Shuttle, Hermes and ISS.


Background on the Man-Tended Free Flying platform

The Man-Tended Free Flying platform (MTFF) is used for sensitive microgravity research while satisfying European needs for an autonomous manned space platform.

Unlike the European Columbus module for the US Space Station Freedom, the MTFF station would not be permanently occupied, but only visited by astronauts every six months. As such, MTFF would be well-suited for then commercially promising microgravity research, which requires an environment free of even slightest disturbances, which astronauts onboard certainly cause.

Launched into the same orbital inclination as ISS, it can be reached by the NASA Space Shuttles and dock with the ISS. The main servicing vehicle is the European Hermes shuttle.

Initially the ESA Columbus program included three flight configurations: a Man-tended Free-Flyer (MTFF) element serviced by the Hermes shuttle and flying periodically to the station for maintenance and reconfiguration, an Attached Pressurized Module (APM), and a Polar Platform (PPF). Equipment should be very similar between the three proposed configurations.

After several budget cuts (and cancellation of the Hermes shuttle), all that remained in the Columbus program was the APM, renamed to Columbus Orbital Facility (Columbus ISS module); the polar platform was contracted separately with commonality to the French satellite HELIOS.

Download from Orbiter Hangar