ESA PR 41-2002. This morning, ESA's Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral inside the logistics module MPLM-Leonardo, aboard a US Space Shuttle - STS-111 UF2 - mission to the International Space Station.
Commenting on the occasion of the MSG launch, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight and Microgravity, Mr. Feustel-Büechl said: "MSG is the first European provided research facility to have been launched to the ISS; the first to have completed the verification programme for this class of payloads, becoming the reference for the future development of ISS payloads. It is an example of positive, close cooperation and coordination between ESA and NASA as well as with European Industry."
The MSG will enable astronauts on board the ISS to perform a wide variety of materials, combustion, fluids and biotechnology experiments as well as investigations in the microgravity environment. It can also accommodate minor repairs and servicing of hardware requiring a controlled working environment. The facility offers users a wide range of innovative, utilization alternatives from manual control by astronauts via laptop computers to fully automated and remote control from Earth (telescience). A permanent data exchange link with ground stations is also ensured.
The MSG will be integrated and used in the US Destiny Laboratory for a projected operational period of ten years.
ESA is planning to use the facility for European experiments. The first time MSG will be used by a European astronaut to perform European experiments will be during a Soyuz "taxi flight" mission in October 2002. ESA's Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne will perform four different experiments in the MSG in the field of protein crystallization, zeolites crystallization, combustion and fluid science.
The prime contractor for the development of the MSG is Astrium GmbH (D) with Bradford Engineering (NL), Verhaert Design and Development (B), ATOS-ORIGIN (NL) and Laben (I) as subcontractors.
For further information, please contact :
Media Relations Office
ESA- Head Office, Paris, France
Lina De Parolis
MSG & Cryosystem Project Manager
ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, Netherlands