The year: 2007. The place: Cape Canaveral. The Columbus module, built in Italy and shipped from Germany, is undergoing tests at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
This unique interior view features some of the hardware that makes Columbus a world-class laboratory. Resembling airline galley storage units, the ‘racks’ are highly compact facilities for research in various scientific disciplines.
Each rack is the size of a telephone booth and can host autonomous and independent laboratories, complete with power and cooling systems. Video and data links send results back to researchers on Earth.
From left to right are the European Drawer Rack, a flexible experiment carrier; the European Physiology Modules for experiments focusing on the human body; Biolab for life sciences experiments; and the Fluid Science Lab for studying fluids in microgravity.
The four are seen here in their launch configuration. The racks were later relocated inside Columbus once in orbit.
Thanks to these and other facilities in Columbus, researchers have been able to conduct multidisciplinary research in microgravity over the past decade.
From studying immune cells to understand how they function to developing technology that finds its way to Earth, Columbus and its suite of research equipment have hosted more than 225 experiments and generated countless scientific papers.
On 7 February, ESA is celebrating 10 years of Europe’s gateway to space research at our technical heart in the Netherlands. The event is a unique opportunity to re-live some exciting milestones, connect live to the Station and look into space exploration plans.
The larger Columbus family of planners, builders, scientists, support teams and astronauts will gather to celebrate the past, present and future of Europe’s major contributions to the Station.