ISS operations

The International Space Station with ATV-2 and Endeavour

In partnership with the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada, Europe is sharing in the greatest international project of all time – the International Space Station (ISS).

The 450-tonne International Space Station has more than 837 cubic metres of pressurised space – enough room for its crew of six persons and a vast array of scientific experiments.

Europe, working through ESA, is exclusively responsible for two key Station elements: the European Columbus laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).
The European Columbus laboratory represents a substantial part of the Station's research capability. Fitted with 10 interchangeable payload racks, Columbus is a multifunction laboratory that specialises in research into fluid physics, materials science and life sciences.
Europe's second biggest contribution is the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), a supply ship lifted into orbit by the Ariane-5 launcher.

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