February 15, 2008
Space Station’s Columbus Lab in Ship Shape
Europe's shiny new lab at the International Space Station (ISS) is in fine
shape, according to the astronauts that delivered the new module.
astronaut crews of the station and NASA's shuttle Atlantis said the European
Space Agency's (ESA) Columbus
lab was fully activated late Wednesday and performing well.
beautiful module," space station commander
Peggy Whitson told Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel during a
space-to-ground link early Thursday. "We're really happy to have it here."
the ESA's largest contribution to the $100 billion space station, is a 23-foot
(7-meter) long pressurized cylinder capable of carrying experiments on its
outer hull and up to 16 racks of science and hardware inside its 14.7-foot
(4.5-meter) wide interior.
A new ESA
control center outside Munich, Germany is overseeing the 10-ton laboratory 24
hours a day.
will attach two experiments to the 1.4 billion euro ($2 billion) module's
exterior on Friday as their crewmates continue moving interior racks and other
hardware from launch positions into their final orbital flight
The 10 astronauts
aboard the station and Atlantis appeared in NASA video to spend the bulk of
time Thursday continuing the commissioning of Columbus.
is in place and it's hard to keep pace with Peggy and Yuri and Dan," said French
astronaut Leopold Eyharts, of the ESA, of Whitson, ISS flight engineer Yuri
Malenchenko and shuttle astronaut Dan Tani. "I think
Columbus will be ready really soon."
who launched aboard Atlantis with his crewmates on Feb. 7, replaced Tani as a
member of the station's Expedition 16 crew and will oversee Columbus'
outfitting after the shuttle undocks next week. Tani will return to Earth
alongside Atlantis' STS-122 astronauts when they land on Feb. 20.
by veteran shuttle astronaut Stephen Frick, Atlantis' STS-122 crew is in the
middle of a 13-day mission to deliver Columbus and Eyharts to the station. The shuttle
is slated to undock on Monday.
early cooling system issues and a computer command software glitch, which
flight controllers fixed Wednesday, Columbus' activation has gone smoothly,
mission managers said.
everything has been going flawlessly," said NASA station flight director Bob
broadcasting Atlantis' STS-122 mission live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com's
shuttle mission coverage and NASA TV feed.
- VIDEO: ESA's New Science Laboratory
STS-122 Launch Day for Shuttle Atlantis
Complete Space Shuttle Mission