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Columbus: Celebrating 10 Years of Science on Station

NASA astronaut Rex Walheim works outside Europe’s new Columbus lab module shortly after it was installed in February 2008.
The European Space Agency's Columbus module celebrates 10 years of science on the International Space Station.

On Feb. 7, 2008, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Columbus lab module blasted off inside Space Shuttle Atlantis’ STS-122 mission on a two-day ride to the International Space Station. Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, removed Columbus from Atlantis’s cargo bay after its arrival and attached it the starboard side of the Harmony module.

In this image, NASA astronaut Rex Walheim works outside the new Columbus lab shortly after it was installed in Feb. 2008.

Columbus is about 23 feet long and 15 feet wide, allowing it to hold 10 “racks” of experiments, each approximately the size of a phone booth. Each rack provides independent controls for power and cooling, as well as communication links to Earth-bound controllers and researchers. These links will allow scientists all over Europe to participate in their own experiments in space and continues to do so to this day.

Image Credit: NASA