>> Is that meant to be a joke?
My question about the ISS was perfectly serious.
We know that various microgravity experiment units, for example the Material Science Laboratory, are designed to bolt into a standard rack on board ISS.
" The crew then connects all required ISS resources, and once the solid state power control module (SSPCM) receives power, the master controller initiates an automatic startup of rack systems. "
from http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stati ... operations
We can bet that the facility resources include electric power, some kind of cooling system connection, and a computer network.
How about compressed air (used widely in industrial motion control systems), or dry nitrogen ?
How about various kinds of vacuum -- must each experiment module be self-contained?
The question came up because most terrestrial HV systems include orientation-sensitive pumps. An exception might be a turbo-drag pump backed by a diaphragm pump.
Some laboratory "rooms" on ISS might have spigots for roughing vacuum, connected by lightweight pipes to "the outside", but I would not bet on it. Today I learned that the static pressure outside is usually in the 1e-8 to 1e-9 torr range. To bring that into an experimental chamber, you'd need a fat pipe and big hole in the wall right there, built to code and installed by a licensed plumber.
 I just found the answers myself, in this ISS Users' Guide: http://www.spaceref.com/iss/ops/ISS.User.Guide.R2.pdf
Page 20 has general specs for the Vacuum Exhaust System (Waste Gas), with 1 inch pipes in each module. It can vent a 100 liter chamber to 1e-3 torr in less than 2 hours, if nobody else is using it. Selected locations also have independent Vacuum Resource lines, guaranteed to deliver 1e-3 torr.
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