The date has finally arrived. On 7 February 2008, after years of planning and construction, delays and bad news, concessions and coordination, Columbus is ready to go.
Loaded inside Space Shuttle Atlantis, Europe’s largest contribution to the International Space Station is about to make its final journey.
All tests are complete, the crew is ready and the weather has been cleared for liftoff. In less than an hour, Columbus and the seven-strong crew will begin the ride of their lives, at 19:45 GMT, from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
Fast forward 10 years to the present, and we are one day away from marking this historic moment for European space research.
Tomorrow, the larger Columbus family of planners, builders, scientists, support teams and astronauts will gather to celebrate the laboratory at ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands.
Join us in celebrating this very special 10th anniversary when we celebrate the past, present and future of Europe’s major contributions to the Station and the future of European space exploration. Programme details and live streaming are available here. Follow us on social media using #Columbus10Years hashtag.