Astrolab Industry Day to showcase European research technology on ISS

ESA will be hosting the 'ISS Research Technology from Europe' Industry Day on 7 November 2006 at the ESTEC facility in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The event is open to representatives from industry involved in the development and installation of European ISS research technology, and for interested media.

The day will highlight European technology on the International Space Station (ISS), which is either currently in use on the Station for research purposes or will add to the ISS research capabilities in the very near future. The event will also include a live in-flight call with ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter who is currently serving as a member of the ISS Expedition 14 crew. Much of the day will focus on the Pulmonary Function System (PFS), the Minus 80 degrees laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI) and the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS).

Pulmonary Function System (PFS)

The Pulmonary Function System that was launched to the ISS on the STS-114 mission in July 2005 is an ESA/NASA-developed device that analyses exhaled gas from astronauts' lungs to provide near-instant data on the state of crew health. It is accommodated in the NASA Human Research Facility located in the US Destiny Laboratory on the ISS though will be relocated into the European Columbus Laboratory following its launch in 2007. The hardware was developed for ESA by the Danish company Damec.

Minus 80 degrees laboratory Freezer for the ISS (MELFI)

MELFI was launched to the ISS on the STS-121 mission in July 2006, the same flight that brought Thomas Reiter to the ISS as the first European to become a member of an ISS Expedition Crew. It provides the Space Station with refrigerated volume for storage and fast freezing of life science and biological samples.

It was developed by the European Space Agency in the frame of international barter agreements. Two flight units have been supplied to NASA and one to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). ASTRIUM led the Industrial Team for MELFI, which included Air Liquide in France, Linde and Kayser-Threde in Germany and ETEL in Switzerland.

European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS)

The European Modular Cultivation System was also launched to the ISS on the STS-121 mission in July 2006. It is an ESA experiment facility dedicated to biological experiments, with several experiments already planned dealing primarily with the effects of gravity on plant cells, roots and physiology. EMCS is developed under an ESA contract by an industrial team led by ASTRIUM in Friedrichshafen in Germany.

Call to Station

Other aspects covered during the Industry Day include the European Columbus Laboratory, which is currently scheduled to be launched in October 2007 and will far increase the European research capabilities on the ISS.

The 'ISS Research Technology from Europe' Industry Day will be opened by ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes, Daniel Sacotte and by ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, who will be connected to the Erasmus Centre via a live in-flight call from the ISS.

In between and at the end of the day's presentations from industry representatives, there will be opportunities to conduct individual interviews for the media.

The programme closes with two highlights: A visit of the ESTEC test facilities where the Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV, which will be launched next year to the ISS, can be seen, and a presentation of the latest 3-D photos and videos that Thomas Reiter took recently on the ISS during his Astrolab mission.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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