European Columbus laboratory
Columbus is a cylindrical module, made from “space” aluminium, which is 6.5 metres long and 4.5 metres wide, and weighs a total of 12,4 tonnes, including 2500 kg of payload. It hosts four racks along its length, or the equivalent volume, on each of its four sides. Columbus has an internal volume of 75 cubic meters, with room for up to three people.
On the outside, the pressurised structure is covered by protective micrometeoritic shields, whose design has benefited from the MPLM (Multi-Purpose Logistic Module) program, resulting in cost reductions for both projects.
Columbus comprises 5 internal payloads:
- the “Fluide Science Laboratory” (FSL) supporting scientific microgravity research in fluid physics;
- the “European Drawer Rack” (EDR), a multi-user facility housed within the
laboratory, supporting and providing services to small and modular payloads. Columbus
- the “Biolab”, a facility designed to support biological experiments on micro-organisms, cells, tissue cultures, small plants and small invertebrates.
- the “European Physiology Module” (EPM)
- the “European Transport Container” (ETC).
It contains as well an external payload named “SOLAR” enabling to measure solar radiations.
Thales Alenia Space has developed 2 of these internal payloads: the FSL and the EDR as well as SOLAR.