The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest technology project of all time: an outpost of humanity in space. At the same time, it is a flying laboratory with outstanding possibilities for scientific and industrial research. The ISS proves that peaceful international use of space is to the advantage of all its partners.
Background information on German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and his 'Blue Dot – Shaping the future' mission.
In this new blog, the staff at the Columbus Control Centre aim to use their expertise and take you behind the scenes of Alexander Gerst's 'Blue Dot' mission. In this context, they will pick interesting topics related to the ISS, the European Columbus research laboratory and space in general, as well as report on current developments.
A special website presenting all the German astronauts that have flown in space, and the latest German astronaut – Alexander Gerst. In 1978, Sigmund Jähn, a citizen of the German Democratic Republic, became the first German to travel to space. In addition to Jähn, this astronaut special contains brief biographies of Ulf Merbold, Reinhard Furrer, Ernst Messerschmid, Ulrich Walter, Klaus-Dietrich Flade, Reinhold Ewald, Gerhard Thiele, Thomas Reiter and Hans Schlegel.
The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest technology project of all time. The European Columbus module is the newest section of the Space Station. Even with Columbus attached, the ISS is still not finished. Follow its development and see our interactive animation of the construction of the ISS.
In February 2008, the astronauts of the STS-122 mission installed the Columbus space laboratory in its final position on the International Space Station ISS. This image gallery shows the Columbus Laboratory from transportation in the Beluga Airbus to assembly in space.
Although only about 400 kilometres separate the Kontur-2 joystick and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) ROKVISS robot, the remote control operations that took place on 18 August 2015 were truly special: Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, flying aboard the International Space Station (ISS) over Earth at 28,000 kilometres per hour, controlled the robot on the ground while in microgravity. The connection between space and Earth is not one-directional – the ROKVISS (Robotic Components Verification on the ISS) sends data back to the joystick when contact forces occur on the ground. At 16:37 CEST (ISS orbit 3775), the metal fingers of the robot moved for the first time – controlled remotely from space. “At that moment, Kononenko not only saw what was happening using a camera, but, through the joystick, felt exactly what was happening with the robot in our laboratory,” says Jordi Artigas from the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. In autumn 2015 the first ‘tele-handshake’ will be performed between the ISS and Earth with this technology, when the DLR Robot ‘Space Justin’ remotely shakes hands with someone on Earth from space – with force feedback.
The new crew on their way to the International Space Station (ISS) – cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and astronauts Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren – will be carrying a compact piece of luggage on board the Soyuz spacecraft. The KONTUR-2 joystick developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is setting off to its new destination. Upon arrival, Kononenko will be responsible for working with the device and in August will operate the ROKVISS (Robotic Components Verification on the ISS) robot installed at the DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center using the remote control. What makes this special? The cosmonaut will not only see a camera image of the robot sent up from the ground, he will also, at a distance of over 400 kilometres, feel precisely what the robot back on Earth touches. This is enabled by a mechanism in KONTUR-2 that detects exactly how strongly it touches another object, as well as other metrics. The telepresence experiment is designed to give its operator the impression of being on-site at the laboratory – and not in orbit around Earth.
The International Space Station (ISS) offers a unique opportunity to conduct research in microgravity. Its newest research system – the PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory – has now begun scientific operations in the Columbus module.