On 7 February 2008, after a long preparation period and launch delays, the space shuttle Atlantis launched from the KSC to deliver the European space laboratory Columbus to the International Space Station. The Flight Controllers in Munich, who work around the clock in the control rooms, celebrated this anniversary with a birthday cake. Bernie Kerr (center), a native New Zealander, has since then been responsible for the various subsystems aboard Columbus, reflected on the last 12 months: "It was a very interesting, but also very demanding time. Without the huge personal effort of all the colleagues in the flight control team, we would not have been able to cope with the big challenges of this truly international manned space mission. We are still learning every day" Also G. Morzuch, one of the three responsible Flight Directors during the Atlantis mission, reflects: "After the landing of the STS, the work really began for us. We wanted to start with research work as soon as possible within our module. We accomplished that and we are now supporting the European science community in this unique opportunity of doing research under space conditions."
Columbus is operated from the Columbus Control Center at Oberpfaffenhofen along with other international control centers in Houston, Huntsville, Tokyo and Moscow. The Columbus Control Center shall continue to support astronaut work aboard the ISS for at least another 10 years.