June 12, 2014


The Colombus laboratory is designed as a general-purpose laboratory to accomodate payloads with experiments from life sciences, physical science and technology development.

External attachment sites are also avaliable for payloads requiring celestial and earth pointing or other space environment.
It is a pressurised and habitable module which will be launched by the Shuttle and attached to node 2 of the Station.

It is the main workplace for the scientific and technological activities of the European astronauts in the Station.

Main Columbus Laboratory Characteristics

Launched by the Shuttleearly 2006
Launch mass12.7 t
Maximum mass on orbit18 t
Number of active payloads racks10
Number of stowage racks3
Electrical power avaliable for payloadsup to 13.5 kW
Thermal control and heat removalup to 14kW; water cooling loop;cabin air cooling
Earthlike atmosphere959-1013 mbar
Control and handling data system 
Communicationsvia TDRS system

Colombus Resources and Services to Payloads

  • Data Management System (DMS)
  • Electrical Power
  • Vacuum and Venting system (VVS)
  • Cooling Water
  • Nitrogen Gas
  • Video Communications
  • Telemetry and Telecomand Links
  • Fire Detection and Suppression (FDS)
  • Emergency, Warning and Caution and Safing (EWACS)
  • Cabin Air

With the Columbus Laboratory, Europe acquires experience of long duration, continuous exploitation of an in-orbit infrastructure, with regard to both operations and utilisation.