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article imageBartolomeo to become first commercial platform on ISS

By Karen Graham     Mar 5, 2020 in Science
Its days on Earth are numbered - the external platform Bartolomeo is currently waiting for its launch to the International Space Station (ISS) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule.
Airbus Defence and Space built and operates the Bartolomeo, named after Christopher Columbus’ younger brother, while the European Space Agency (ESA) will be hosting it on the International Space Station. The Bartolomeo platform will be installed on the outside of the European Columbus laboratory with a clear view of Earth.
The use of an external platform on the ISS signals its entry into a new era, says Walther Pelzer, Member of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board and head of DLR Space Administration.
Standard platform to payload interface
Standard platform to payload interface
Oceaneering Space Systems Inc
"This project 'made in Germany' is making a significant contribution to the commercialization of the ISS. Bartolomeo is Europe's first private external platform on the ISS and offers companies and research institutions the unique opportunity to develop their project quickly and easily in space."
The ISS is a recognized platform for research activities in low Earth orbit, and NASA is actually seeking private and institutional groups to make use of the space station. As of today, there are several unpressurized platforms being used outside the ISS, with a number of them only being used for storage.
Currently existing external payload facilities on the International Space Station
Currently existing external payload facilities on the International Space Station
NASA
There are eight sites on the ELCs (EXPRESS Logistics Carriers) accommodated on the ITS (Integrated Truss Segment), four on the European COL-EPF (Columbus Laboratory Module Exposed Payload Facility), and ten on the JEM-EF (Japanese Experiment Module -Exposed Facility. So, there are plenty of spaces to choose from.
The ELC, COL-EPF, and JEM-EF positions are accessible with the station's Robotic Manipulator System (RMS) or Canadarm. Bartolomeo's dimensions are two by two and a half meters, with a weight of 484 kilograms., The new platform will extend the available space on the ISS by adding a kind of research balcony with 12 payload slots and three antenna positions.
And because of Bartolomeo's position on the ISS, it will be perfect for experiments that require an open space environment. "Radiation biologists, solar physicists and astrophysicists, Earth observers and atmospheric and climate researchers will all benefit from the new platform," says Julianna Schmitz, who is responsible for ISS commercialization at the DLR Space Administration.
The platform will attach to the exterior of the space station’s European Columbus Module. Named fo...
The platform will attach to the exterior of the space station’s European Columbus Module. Named for the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, the platform has the capability to host external payloads in low-Earth orbit on the station.
NASA/ Ben Smegelsky
"Bartolomeo is particularly suitable for technology testing and validation. There are unique possibilities here that cannot be achieved in any laboratory on Earth because optical sensors, materials, robotic components, and antennas can be tested directly in the space environment."
Bartolomeo is set to liftoff from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 05:49 CET (04:49 GMT) on Saturday, snugly fitted inside the nose cone of a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. The payload will also include parts for the Materials Science Laboratory, radiation dosimeters, and medical equipment for the Myotones experiment that monitors the tone, stiffness, and elasticity of astronauts’ muscles.
According to Space Coast Daily, the weather forecast for Friday night’s SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral Air force Station shows a 50-percent chance for launch due to high liftoff winds (20-30 mph) in the area, according to the 45th Weather Squadron.
More about Bartolomeo, International Space Station, European Columbus laboratory, ESA hosted, first commercial platform
 
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