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> http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/Columbus_module.html   
> **
> It may sound like a rewrite of history, but Columbus is leaving 
> Germany and heading to the shores of Florida. This Columbus isn't 
> looking for new lands to explore; it has a final destination in space. 
> As a component of the International Space Station, the Columbus 
> Laboratory's final earthly stop is the Space Station Processing 
> Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
> As the European Space Agency's largest single contribution to the 
> space station, the research laboratory module -- with four payload 
> facility racks -- was completed in early May and delivered to the 
> agency in a ceremony in Bremen, Germany. It must be processed in 
> Florida before being ferried to the station within the space shuttle's 
> cargo bay.
> + Learn about processing space station components 
> <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/stationpayloads/issprocessing.html>
> **Image at Left: The physical design of the Columbus Laboratory module 
> allows it to fit snugly into the cargo bay of the space shuttle for 
> transport to the space station. Image credit: ESA-D. Ducros
> The physical design and layout of the Columbus laboratory is not 
> unlike the three multi-purpose logistics modules (MPLM) built by the 
> Italian Space Agency and used for transporting scientific experiments, 
> materials and supplies to the station via the space shuttles.
> + Learn about the MPLM 
> <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/mplm.html>
> But unlike the visiting logistic modules that return to Earth with the 
> shuttles, Columbus will permanently expand the research facilities of 
> the space station. The laboratory will be connected to the rest of the 
> orbiting outpost by NASA's Node 2 module.
> + View Space Station Configuration Chart 
> <http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/143942main_ISS_config.jpg>
> **Image at Right: Once installed permanently on the station, crew 
> members can work on experiments in the laboratory's "racks." The Node 
> 2 module will connect Columbus to the U.S. Destiny laboratory and the 
> Japanese Kibo laboratory. Image credit: ESA-D. Ducros
> 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. Five NASA racks will be added to the laboratory once it is in 
> orbit. Each rack provides independent controls for power and cooling, 
> as well as communication links to earthbound controllers and 
> researchers. These links will allow scientists all over Europe to 
> participate in their own experiments in space from several user 
> centers and, in some cases, even from their own work locations.
> Biolab experiment payload.The Columbus laboratory's flexibility 
> provides room for the researchers on the ground, aided by the 
> station's crew, to conduct thousands of experiments in life sciences, 
> materials sciences, fluid physics and other research in a weightless 
> environment not possible on Earth.
> **Image at Left: This illustration shows Biolab, just one of the 
> experiment payload racks designed to fit into Columbus. Biolab will 
> support experiments on micro-organisms, cells and tissue cultures, and 
> even small plants and insects. Image credit: ESA-D. Ducros
> In addition, the station crew can conduct experiments outside the 
> module within the vacuum of space, thanks to four exterior mounting 
> platforms that can accommodate external payloads. With a clear view of 
> Earth and the vastness of space, external experiments can run the 
> gamut from the microscopic world of bacteria to the limitlessness of 
> space. The first two experiment packages will fly to the station on 
> the shuttle with the module.
> The control center for the work that will be conducted in the Columbus 
> laboratory is located in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. From there, ground 
> controllers can communicate with the module as the space station 
> orbits the Earth, as well as with researchers across Europe and their 
> partners in the United States and Russia.
> The Columbus Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.Image at 
> Right: On Earth, the nerve center for the laboratory is the Columbus 
> Control Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. It serves as the 
> operations center for all the European science to be performed on the 
> International Space Station. Image credit: ESA/DLR
> Once the module is in orbit as part of the International Space 
> Station, the Columbus laboratory is expected to provide at least 10 
> years of science capabilities for researchers, whether they're working 
> at their desks on Earth or floating weightlessly in space.
> For more information:
> + View Space Station Assembly Schedule 
> <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/iss_manifest.html>
> + View ESA Site <http://www.esa.int/esaHS/ESAFRG0VMOC_iss_0.html>
> + Learn About Space Station Processing 
> <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/stationpayloads/issprocessing.html>
> *Cheryl L. Mansfield
> NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center*
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