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Ulf Merbold during the Spacelab-1 mission



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Ulf Merbold during the Spacelab-1 mission
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Space Shuttle Columbia took off from launch pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center on 28 November 1983 at 17:00 (CET) carrying the European Spacelab laboratory. Ulf Merbold was on his maiden flight and it made him the first non-American to travel on a US space vehicle. Spacelab conducted more than 70 experiments during a 10-day work period. Their scientific purview was broad, ranging from atmospheric research, through plasma and solar physics, to materials research and medicine. The mission's primary objective was to qualify Spacelab and to test its funtionality. Spacelab's particular advantage lay in its multifunctional configuration, permitting experiments to be interchanged on a modular basis, enabling different research functions, without having to develop new experimental systems. Spacelab's deployment enabled the comprehensive use of the Space Shuttle as a capable and efficient platform for scientific missions. More than 20 successful missions followed Spacelab's initial deployment.
Credit: ESA/DLR.
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