ESA's Columbus Laboratory, Europe's laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS), will become one of the principal manned modules of the ISS when it is launched aboard the US Space Shuttle Atlantis (December 2007). In this pressurised laboratory, European astronauts and their international colleagues will work in a comfortable shirtsleeve environment. It is a state-of-the-art, general-purpose laboratory, accommodating experiments in life sciences, materials processes, technology development, fluid sciences, fundamental physics and other disciplines. Up to 500 experiments will be performed in it every year of its more than 10-year operational life. Measuring 6.7 m long and 4.5 m in diameter, the one-piece module will weigh 9.9 tonnes without its research equipment of 5 tonnes in 10 exchangeable modular racks. Payloads will also be attached on four express pallets on the exterior of the Columbus for technology experiments, Earth observation and space science.It is being developed by a European consortium (41 companies in 14 countries) headed by Daimler Benz Aerospace (DASA).