ESA awaits Space Shuttle’s return to flight

Space Shuttle Discovery
Space Shuttle Discovery
13 July 2005

The US Space Shuttle is poised to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center tonight on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The success of that mission will give new momentum to the ISS, as future Shuttle missions will be transporting large modules from ESA, notably the Columbus laboratory, Japan and the US into orbit to continue the Space Station’s construction.

Eleven European countries, represented by ESA, together with the US, Russia, Japan and Canada are building the ISS.

ESA’s Columbus and its sophisticated experiment facilities will allow crews of astronauts to conduct research and development in microgravity in material sciences, medicine, biology and technology, many eventually leading to benefits for everyday life on Earth. The work on board will be controlled from a mission control centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich in Germany.

Artist's impression showing ISS
Artist's impression showing the current configuration of ISS as it passes over the Dutch coast

The return-to-flight of the Space Shuttle also opens the door for missions by ESA astronauts, with Thomas Reiter of Germany scheduled to fly on the subsequent Space Shuttle in September for a six-month stay on board the ISS, and Christer Fuglesang of Sweden on a Shuttle mission in early 2006.

Media can follow the launch of the STS-114 mission from various ESA Centres: ESA/ESTEC at Noordwijk (the Netherlands), ESA/ESRIN at Frascati (Italy) and ESA/EAC at Cologne (Germany).

Media representatives wishing to attend the event at any of the centres are kindly requested to fill in the accreditation form (right) and return it to the relevant contact person listed for each venue.

ESA Television downlink parameters will be posted at, about 24 hours before the event. For all TV enquiries, contact Claus Habfast, Tel.:+31.71.565.3838 – Fax:+31.71.565.6340, e-mail:

For further information please contact:

ESA Media Relations Division
Paris (France)
Tel: +33 1 5369 7155
Fax: +33 1 5369 7690

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