Space for life

Cutaway view of Columbus laboratory

The International Space Station – the world’s largest-ever technical cooperation in peacetime – is a powerful science laboratory, a testbed for future technologies and a unique facility for conducting advanced human physiology, medical, biological and materials research in space.

Research conducted on board the ISS will help greatly in preparing for future exploration missions to more distant parts of the Solar System.

Europe has a substantial share in the International Space Station (ISS). ESA’s main hardware contributions are Columbus, a multipurpose science and technology laboratory, and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), a service vehicle essential for the ISS.

In addition, ESA is also providing two of the three nodes of the ISS, the Cupola, the European Robotic Arm (ERA), the Data-Management System for the Russian Service Module, and various facilities for scientific research.

To enhance European expertise, ESA is cooperating with many organisations, including the European Science Foundation and the European Commission, in its human spaceflight endeavours.

Last update: 15 June 2007

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