Columbus was flown to Florida on 30 May 2006. Earlier this year, it was removed from temporary storage, and the 12.8 tonne International Space Station (ISS) module is now fully outfitted with its experiment racks and orbital hardware. At the moment, engineers are installing the trunnions that will secure the 4.5 metre diameter aluminium cylinder in the Shuttle payload bay. The next step is to mount the panels that will protect the lab from potentially damaging micrometeorite impacts.
After a summer break, the Columbus hatch will be reopened at the beginning of October, when it will undergo final preparations for flight, including leak checks on the water cooling system, a pressurisation check and the switching on of electrical systems. Once the seals are in position on the module’s docking mechanism, it will be placed inside a canister for transport to the launch pad.
"The launch of Columbus will be a major landmark in European space exploration," said Bernardo Patti, Columbus Project Manager. "Columbus was originally scheduled for launch in 2002, but delays in the construction of the ISS and the tragic loss of Shuttle Columbia have put back the mission five years.
"Once Columbus is operational, we will have a permanent presence on the Station. We will own our own real estate. By providing the Automated Transfer Vehicle and Columbus, ESA will be able to meet its scientific objectives as a full partner, sharing resources with other ISS participants rather than simply purchasing them."
Columbus will not be the only representative of ESA on the STS-122 Shuttle flight. The crew of seven will include ESA astronauts Hans Schlegel and Léopold Eyharts. Schlegel will play a key role in two spacewalks during which he will help to install and power up Columbus and then position two scientific payloads on the module’s exterior. While Léopold Eyharts will perform a large part of the activation and initial commissioning activities.
After the Shuttle heads for home, Eyharts and the other members of the resident ISS crew will complete the commissioning of the laboratory and conduct its first scientific experiments.
Markus Bauer | alfa
MEMS chips get metatlenses
21.02.2018 | American Institute of Physics
International team publishes roadmap to enhance radioresistance for space colonization
21.02.2018 | Biogerontology Research Foundation
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
22.02.2018 | Business and Finance
22.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
22.02.2018 | Life Sciences