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Science & Exploration

N° 4–1993: ESA's Spacelab once again in space for Europe

25 January 1993

Europe'and ESA will soon be once more in the forefront of manned space flight. The launch of the second German Spacelab mission (D-2) is scheduled for 25 February 1993. For nine days, Space Shuttle Columbia will carry in its cargo bay the ESA developed Spacelab on a mission to conduct fundamental research in the fields of material sciences ( fluid physics and material processes), life sciences (biology, humanphysiologyandradiationbiology), astronomy, Earth observation and robotics.

A crew of 7 astronauts, 5 from NASA and 2 payload specialists from DLR -the German Aerospace Research Establishment - will have the task of executing some 90 experiments, 32 of which have been funded and developed under ESA responsibility for scientists from university and research institutes spread all over Europe.

Space lab as a manned orbiting laboratory, has already flown 6 times. Space lab technology (unmanned, pallet-only versions of the laboratory) has also been used several other times. The year 1993 marks both the 20th anniversary of the programme and the 10th anniversary of the first flight which occurred in November 1983 (STS-9/ Spacelab 1).

This will be the second time that the responsibility for the complete scientific programme of a manned space mission is fully in German hands. As was the case for the Spacelab D-l mission in 1985, DLR has been entrusted by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT) with the project mansgement, the training of the scientific astronauts and the operation of the payload. DLR's dedicated space operations control centre for D-2 is located in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Munich in Germany.

ESA's contribution to this mission is remarkable: five of the 32 ESA experiments flown are contained in the Advanced Fluid Physics Module (AFPM) for investigation in fluid physics and 19 are placed in the so called Anthrorack for human physiology research in microgravity. Furthermore, Six experiments in the field of material synthesis and two experiments for the future Columbus Attached Laboratory -the European contribution to the International Space Station Freedom- will also be flown on D-2.

The D-2 press centre will be set-up at DLR's Operations Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen for the duration of the whole mission. From O9hOO till 18hOO media will be able to cover the mission in all its aspects through video and audio links and follow mission control specialists and scientists from close by. Status briefings will be held in German daily and press releases will also be issued in German and English. Interviews with key ESA personnel can be arranged through the ESA Public Relations desk in the press centre.

News media intending to cover the mission from the D-2 press centre will have to seek accreditation in writing or by Fax directly at:
DLR Public Affairs Office, Linder Hohe - D-5000 Koln Porz (Germany)
Fax: + 49 2203 601 3249
with copy to:
ESA Public Relations Office
8-10 Rue Mario Nikis - F-75015 Paris (Fax: + 33 1 42 73 7690)