Columbus Installed on International Space Station
Astronauts have attached the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Columbus laboratory to the International Space Stations (ISS). The Space Shuttle Atlantis ferried Columbus to the ISS along with two ESA astronauts yesterday.
The laboratory is the ESA’s main contribution to the ISS. It is 27-foot (7-meter) long by 14.7-feet (4.5-meters) wide and weighs 12.8 tonnes. It adds 2,648 cubic feet (75 cubic meters) of space to the ISS.
Columbus was installed during the first spacewalk of the STS-122 mission. From outside the ISS, astronauts Rex Walheim and Stanley Love prepared the module for installation before the Station's robotic arm was used to lift Columbus into position.
ESA astronaut Leopold Eyharts, who was at the controls of the Station's robotic arm for the final capture and initial berthing of Columbus, reported to Mission Control, "The European Columbus module is now part of the ISS" at 22:44 CET.
Columbus will allow astronauts to carry out scientific experiments in a weightless, shirtsleeve environment. It presently carries 2.5 tonnes of science payloads, consisting of five equipment racks. Other payloads will be delivered later. It will eventually hold 16 racks, 10 of which will be used for scientific research.
Columbus was inspected earlier today and will be officially opened at 2:55 p.m. EST (1955 GMT). Catch it live on NASA TV