ESA internal facilities

The Columbus laboratory is ESA's biggest single contribution to the International Space Station. The 4.5-metre diameter cylindrical module is equipped with flexible research facilities that offer extensive science capabilities.

During its 10-year projected lifespan, Earth-based researchers, together with the ISS crew, will be able to conduct thousands of experiments in life sciences, materials science, fluid physics and a whole host of other disciplines, all in the weightlessness of orbit.

Payload racks

The Columbus laboratory has room for ten International Standard Payload Racks (ISPRs), eight situated in the sidewalls, and two in the ceiling area.

Each rack is the size of a telephone booth and able to host its own autonomous and independent laboratory, complete with power and cooling systems, and video and data links back to researchers on Earth.

ESA has developed a range of payload racks, all tailored to squeeze the maximum amount of research from the minimum of space and to offer European scientists across a wide range of disciplines full access to a weightless environment that cannot possibly be duplicated on Earth. Please find in the right hand column ESA’s Internal Facilities for Life and Physical Sciences.

Please find in the right hand column ESA’s Internal Facilities for Life and Physical Sciences.

Last update: 13 May 2009

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