Space laboratory Columbus in the Integration Hall of EADS SPACE Transportation in Bremen
Columbus space laboratory in the integration hall at EADS Space Transportation in Bremen. In 1996, the European Space Agency ESA commissioned EADS SPACE Transportation to develop and integrate the Columbus space laboratory, the European contribution to the International Space Station. The eight-metre-long laboratory contains standardised payload racks, in which experiment equipment can be accommodated. The module has sufficient space for three crew members to work in.
Those who built Columbus signed their work.
In 1985, the Rome ESA Ministerial Council approved European participation in the International Space Station ISS. At the next Ministerial Council in The Hague in 1987, the ministers confirmed the Columbus programme and agreed on a three-year preparation phase.
The European contribution to the space station was to consist of a module (Columbus), permanently connected to the core station. The original programme was changed several times: Columbus was now to be launched using the Space Shuttle (rather than the Ariane 5), and the module was to be shorter than originally envisaged.
The International Space Station IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) was signed by eleven European countries, Canada, the US, Japan and Russia. The details, responsibilities, crew numbers and maintenance of the space station have been agreed on in identical MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) between the US and each partner.
In return for supplying the Columbus module, Europe is entitled to use 51 percent of the Columbus laboratory's capacity, which amounts to 5.3 percent of the total station capacity including the external payload platforms on the module, and to about 8.3 percent of the ISS resources (such as power supply, data communication and crew time) available to the Western ISS partners.
On 28 May 2006, a Beluga Airbus delivered Columbus to the Kennedy Space Center, from where it was to be brought to the ISS. All the technical improvements and system tests necessitated by the delayed construction were completed successfully and the internal payloads integrated. On 7 February 2008, Columbus was taken to the ISS on board Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was successfully attached to the International Space Station and brought into operation.
Last modified:23/06/2011 11:23:24