European Transport Carrier

European Transport Carrier

Multi-user logistics carrier in Columbus

The European Transport Carrier carries payload items that cannot be launched with ESA facilities because of stowage or transport limitations. In orbit it serves as a workbench and stowage facility to support experiments with Biolab, the Fluid Science Lab, the European Physiology Modules and the European Drawer Rack.

Accommodation and transport

The European Transport Carrier launched inside the Columbus laboratory. It remains in Columbus serving as a flexible stowage facility for the ESA facilities Biolab, the Fluid Science Lab, the European Physiology Modules and the European Drawer Rack.

The European Transport Carrier was also used in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. The carrier can be reconfigured on ground to accommodate the specific transport and stowage needs of each flight. It was designed to serve for up to 15 flight missions.

Operational concept

Before beginning with nominal stowage activities in orbit, the carrier is checked and some initial installation tasks completed. At the end of a mission the carrier is prepared for download. After landing, the carrier can be reconfigured and fitted for another mission.

Utilisation scenario

On board the International Space Station the doors of European Transport Carrier are unlocked for access to the facility. The Zero-g Stowage Pockets in the upper and lower part of Carrier, which can only be used in weightlessness, are set up. The stowage containers can be used for various kinds of payload stowage activities.

When the Carrier is prepared for download, all the Zero-g Stowage Pockets are first emptied, the pockets folded, and stowed away. The doors are then locked again and the whole rack is transferred for landing.


The European Transport Carrier launched on board the STS-122 Space Shuttle mission in the Columbus laboratory.

Last update: 7 February 2013

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