Europe’s Columbus laboratory for the International Space Station (ISS) is to be shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida at the end of the month.

During its planned 10-year operational lifetime, scientific researchers in Europe, with the help of the astronauts on board and a Europe-wide support infrastructure on the ground, will conduct life, physical, materials science, fundamental physics and technology research experiments. Final integration of Columbus was completed at EADS Space Transportation in Bremen.

The laboratory could be flown to the space station in the second half of 2007, but this is dependent upon the Space Shuttle’s performance. “We are all waiting for the Space Shuttle to restart its flights. There was an indication at the heads of agency meeting in Washington in March that Columbus would fly on about the eighth flight,” says the European Space Agency.

Columbus Lab NASA W445

© ESA / D Ducros

Europe's Columbus could finally fly in 2007

Source: Flight International