Named after the explorer Christopher Columbus who discovered the New World in 1492, the Columbus laboratory is Europe’s chief contribution to the ISS programme.
A module dedicated to science
The pressurized laboratory will be docked permanently to the ISS and able to support a crew of 3 and accommodate 10 experiment payload racks. These interchangeable modular racks will house experiments for fundamental research in biotechnology, fluid physics, material science and life science.
Lastly, 4 pallets outside Columbus will accommodate experiments designed to test out new technologies and to conduct astronomy observations or view Earth. Some 500 experiments are expected to be performed every year. The laboratory is designed to operate for 10 to 15 years.
A Frenchman to fire up Columbus
Eyharts will then be working with the resident Expedition 16 crew of the ISS, American Peggy Whitson and Russian Yuri Malentchenko, to install, fire up and check out the laboratory.
Léopold Eyharts is very happy to have been chosen for this symbolic mission and looking forward to carrying out the important responsibilities with which he has been tasked.
EPM, a payload rack for investigating human physiology under microgravity conditions