STS-116 crew visits European Astronaut Centre
During a public event at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, the STS-116 crew, including ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang, presented their mission to EAC staff, German space agency DLR staff and to members of the media.
“This mission was a lot more successful than could be imagined and shows the wonderful cooperation between NASA and ESA. [Showing] the world that it is possible to work on big global projects”, said STS-116 Commander Mark Polansky about the mission, while commenting a video of mission highlights.
German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who returned to Earth with the STS-116 crew after his Astrolab Mission, also attended the event at the invitation of Polansky.
“Last December, we saw Christer and all the crew members making it possible that the ISS is now ready to receive the new solar arrays that will power the new modules, including ESA’s own Columbus laboratory”, said Michel Tognini, Head of EAC.
Tognini also presented the upcoming ISS missions which have ESA participation, adding that this is a very challenging year for ESA. Node 2 and the Columbus laboratory are scheduled for launch on the Space Shuttle before the end of the year, as is the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) onboard an Ariane 5 launcher.
The crew also visited the EAC training facilities, including the facilities that are being used to provide specific training for all ISS partners' astronauts.