As the hub of astronaut activity in Europe, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) is equipped with a range of specialist training facilities including:
- Various replicas of the European Columbus laboratory, part of the International Space Station (ISS);
- Stand-alone training models of Columbus’ scientific racks;
- Simulators and classrooms;
- A fully-equipped gym;
- Console rooms for communication with astronauts on board the International Space Station; and
- A 10-metre-deep Neutral Buoyancy Facility (NBF) where astronauts prepare for spacewalks and familiarise themselves with tools and equipment underwater.
Located on the German Aerospace Center (DLR) campus, EAC is next door to the state-of-the-art :envihab facility. Here, medical researchers explore the effects of extreme environmental conditions on the human body and develop measures to mitigate them. This is also where ESA astronauts return to for the first phase of rehabilitation following a mission to the International Space Station.
EAC is home to ESA’s specialist communicators known as ‘Eurocoms’ who communicate with and support astronauts in orbit from a control room at the centre.