Washington, 05 Jun 2006
NASA celebrated the May 30 arrival in Florida of an important component to the International Space Station, the Columbus research laboratory.
Columbus is the European Space Agency's primary contribution to the station, according to a June 2 NASA press release. Guests from both sides of the Atlantic welcomed the laboratory from Germany at Kennedy Space Center in a June 2 ceremony.
"The arrival of Columbus is a major milestone in moving forward to complete the station," said Michael Suffredini, NASA's space station program manager.
"The delivery of Columbus to Kennedy to begin processing for flight,â€ he added, â€œsignifies the strong international partnership and planning required for the operation of the station."
Columbus will expand the research facilities of the station, providing researchers the ability to conduct experiments in life, physical and materials sciences. The module can hold up to 10 payload facility racks of experiments. Each rack has independent controls for power and cooling and communication links to researchers on Earth. Four external mounting platforms will let the station crew conduct experiments outside the module.
After its Florida arrival, Columbus was unloaded from its transport aircraft and taken to its temporary home in Kennedy's Space Station Processing Facility, where it will be prepared for launch.
The Columbus laboratory operations center is in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, and will serve as the primary control center for the science to be performed in the laboratory.
It was manufactured by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space company in Bremen, Germany, and Alcatel Alenia Space in Turin, Italy. It will launch aboard the space shuttle on the seventh of the shuttle's upcoming missions to the station in 2007.