European Transportation Carrier (ETC) - 07.19.17

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The European Transportation Carrier (ETC) provides on-orbit stowage for payload items and support for additional European facilities. It is used primarily as a transport rack in conjunction with the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM).
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Horst Koenig, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details


Facility Manager(s)
Horst Koenig, European Space Research and Technology Research Centre, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Facility Representative(s)
Karsten Strauch

OHM Systems, Bremen, Germany

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2007 - March 2010

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending


  • Available for Launch
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • The European Transportion Carrier (ETC) provides stowage for additional European Space Agency (ESA) payload facilities on the International Space Station (ISS).

    • The primary objective of the ETC is to carry payload items to and from the ISS onboard the space shuttle or the Automated Transfer Vehicle.
    The European Transportion Carrier (ETC) transports various payload items, such as commissioning items, science instruments, consumables, orbital support equipment, Orbital Replacement Units, and resupply items, and science items, such as containers. This applies especially to European payload items that cannot be launched in their payload's rack due to limited stowage and transportation capabilities. On orbit, the ETC serves as a workbench and stowage facility, supporting the Biolab, Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL), European Physiology Module (EPM), and European Drawer Rack (EDR).

    Since its first use in the Columbus laboratory, the ETC has been used as a transport rack within the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM). It allows for regular supply and return of all experiment and service items needed for continuous operation of the European payload facilities inside the Columbus module.

    The ETC can carry up to 410 kg (881 lb) of payload and experiment items, accommodated in standardized Cargo Transfer Bags (CTBs). They are compatible with the ISS standards for transport in the MPLM and Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and the use onboard the ISS partner modules like Destiny, Kibo, and Columbus.

    The ETC is equipped with six rigged stowage containers in optimized sizes. There are two smaller containers of 6 PU (1 PU = Panel Unit = 44-45 mm in height) for full and half-sized CTBs and four 12 PU containers that can be filled with any combination of CTBs, up to triple size.

    In addition, the ETC is equipped with three Zero-Gravity Stowage Pockets, one on the bottom and two on the top. These pockets extend the stowage volume capacity to 1000 L instead of the standard 800 L, but can be used and filled only in weightlessness. The European Transportation Carrier (ETC) was launched inside the European Space Agency's Columbus module as part of the STS-122/1E mission. Initially, it served as a workbench and stowage center in the Columbus module. After its initial use, it was loaded with items to be returned to Earth and reused for other missions. The ETC is designed to provide support for 15 missions.

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    Facility Operations

    • The European Transportation Carrier (ETC) is used to transport payload items and hardware to and from the International Space Station in the space shuttle or Automated Transfer Vehicle.

    • The ETC will support and provide additional stowage for the following European Space Agency (ESA) facilities: Biolab, Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL), European Physiology Module (EPM) and European Drawer Rack (EDR).

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    Decadal Survey Recommendations

    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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    image The European Transportion Carrier is shown with stowage bags (white) visible in the open cabinets. Image Courtesy of ESA.
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    image Different sizes of Cargo Transport Bags are used in the European Transportation Carrier.
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