Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Significant milestone for Columbus flight readiness

23.01.2007
In December 2006, experts from ESA and partner organisations met to review Columbus launch preparations. The successful review was a significant milestone for the launch of the Agency's science module, planned for later this year.
The review meeting, known formally as the Flight Operations Readiness Review, included experts from ESA, NASA, the German Aerospace Agency (DLR), the Japanese space agency (JAXA) and industry, and concluded that ESA and its partners are on track for the launch of the Columbus scientific laboratory.

Columbus is Europe's cornerstone contribution to the International Space Station (ISS), and is scheduled for launch on shuttle mission STS-122 in October/November 2007.

The Flight Operations Readiness Review was held 4-5 December 2006 at the Columbus Control Centre at Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich, to review the state of preparation of the mission teams and ground infrastructure; it is a formal step required by NASA to check the state of readiness of its international partners in joint missions.

Ground facilities established for Columbus were recently used during the 171-day Astrolab mission, completed by ESA Astronaut Thomas Reiter, of Germany, in December.

Europe's ground preparations on track

The review showed that ESA and partner preparations are on track and that the engineering, infrastructure and training tasks remaining to be done can be completed as planned prior to launch.

The two-day review was a thorough and comprehensive review of readiness and looked at all areas related to the launch and start of operations for Columbus. The Columbus Control Centre is operated by DLR under contract from ESA.

Review topics included NASA Shuttle flight planning status, payload operations, Columbus generic flight rules, shared documentation, Columbus Control Centre status, ground controller training and certification, flight crew training and the status of the USOCs, Europe's User Support and Operation Centres. These are located at the institutes and universities that will receive and analyse data returned from experiments onboard Columbus.

Columbus Control Centre ready to control

ESA's readiness to support the Columbus delivery mission 24 hours per day via the Columbus Control Centre was one of the key points examined during the review.

Bob Chesson, Head of ESA's Human Spaceflight and Exploration Operations department and a review participant, said that formal qualification and acceptance of the Columbus Control Centre are complete, confirming that the ground infrastructure is in good shape.

"We have completed a full programme of system validation tests with the Columbus module demonstrating that the mission control systems can talk to the spacecraft; at this time we have not identified any issues that could change this encouraging status," he added.

Chesson also said that, as a result of this review, "We have shown that the operations facilities and teams are on schedule to achieve operational readiness in time for launch."

His colleague, Roland Luettgens, Operations Manager for Columbus, added that the Columbus flight control team is currently undergoing their certification for the Columbus flight. "They are a highly motivated team of engineers and experts who will conduct the 13-day mission together with their counterparts at NASA."

ESA astronauts ready for demanding Columbus delivery mission

ESA astronauts Hans Schlegel, from Germany, and Leopold Eyharts, from France, are two of the key participants in the Columbus delivery mission, coded as "ISS Assembly Flight 1E."

"ESA astronaut Hans Schlegel will be trained on all aspects of the 1E mission, and will serve as an EVA (spacewalk) crew member, while Leopold Eyharts will fly the 1E stage, receive all of the Columbus training and will be the overall lead for the mechanical and outfitting tasks," said Michel Tognini, Head of ESA's Astronaut Centre.

Columbus activity ramps up

In upcoming months, activity related to the launch of Columbus will intensify.

The module itself has already been shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, arriving in Florida on 30 May 2006 via an Airbus A300-600 'Beluga' heavy lift aircraft.

In March and April 2007, ESA and NASA technicians aided by contractor personnel will begin removing Columbus from temporary storage.

ESA's single biggest ISS contribution

The Columbus laboratory is ESA's biggest single contribution to the International Space Station. The 4.5-metre diameter cylindrical module is equipped with flexible research facilities that offer extensive science capabilities.

During its 10-year projected life span, Earth-based researchers - sometimes with a little help from the ISS crew - will be able to conduct thousands of experiments in life sciences, materials science, fluid physics and a host of other disciplines, all in the weightlessness of orbit.

Bernhard Von Weyhe | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMMDORMTWE_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tune your radio: galaxies sing while forming stars
21.02.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>