Construction of the International Space Station (ISS) is again underway, and in the next 15 months, Europe will provide the Columbus Laboratory and Node 2 to the ISS while four astronauts take part in a demanding series of missions.
Today, German and international media met ESA astronauts at the European Astronaut Centre, in Cologne, Germany, to discover more on their intense preparations for upcoming missions and pose questions live to Thomas Reiter on board the ISS.
With the ongoing completion of the ISS, and with ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter onboard for the Astrolab mission, additional European astronauts are actively preparing for upcoming flights. Reiter will be followed into space this year by Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who due to fly on a shuttle mission to help install the station's p5 truss section.
In 2007, Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli will fly on a shuttle mission to install the European-built Node 2 module, while Germany's Hans Schlegel will go up to help install Europe's Columbus Laboratory in the fall.