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The European Columbus laboratory, a project participated in by SENER, completes ten years in space


This module is used by astronauts to carry out all types of experiments, such as cultivating plants and creating new metals. It features several components developed by SENER and is also the first European facility dedicated to long-term microgravity research.


SENER developed different structural elements for Columbus, including the conception, development, assembly, qualification testing, and delivery of the supporting structures (racks) of subsystems.

Furthermore, SENER supplied the structure of the external platform, designed for performing experiments outside the pressurised area (vacuum). It also supplied the set of flight-qualified structures responsible for the internal housing of the fluid laboratory equipment in the corresponding rack, providing the means to open, close, extract, and insert the equipment.

For the biological experiment facility in Columbus, Biolab, SENER supplied two thermal storage systems to preserve samples at different temperatures: the temperature controlled unit (TCU) and the automatic temperature-controlled stowage (ATCS). It also provided the power electronics for the thermal subsystem of the incubator and all of the electronic subsystems of the experiment preparation unit.

In addition, SENER was the main contractor of the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES), which is installed in the Columbus module, and analyses the effects caused by weightlessness on human muscles.

In its 10 years of operation, the European laboratory has conducted over 225 experiments in disciplines as varied as solar science, psychology, astrobiology, metallurgy, and microgravity. Here’s to another ten years of the success for the Columbus Laboratory in the International Space Station.

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