The Italian-built Fluid Physics Module that flew on the first mission of the European Spacelab in 1983, seen here at ESTEC in October 1981. The module allowed astronauts to observe and manipulate up to a litre of fluids in space.
Spacelab was a European-built reusable space laboratory that flew on the Space Shuttle from 1983 to 1998. Elements of Spacelab design feature in later ESA space hardware such as the Columbus laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicles.
Spacelab surveyed the possibilities of weightless research in many scientific areas, paving the way for research on the International Space Station. Spacelab experiments led to space-age metals used in mass-produced smartphones and revealed areas of space research that show promise in treating chronic muscle diseases.