Tag Archives: Columbus

Columbus Control Centre keeping an eye on Luca

Columbus Control Centre keeps an eye on the Columbus space laboratory and ESA astronauts in space at all times. An impressive array of computer screens and information are constantly monitored. On the wall are the mission patches...

Guide to the International Space Station for the occasi...

Pressurised Mating Adaptor (PMA1) From the FGB, moving toward the bow, we pass through a corridor that looks rather strange. The corridor is an asymmetrical truncated cone. Starting from the round hatch, it transforms into a square that is Node-1. This transitional area is called PMA1, and in addition to connecting the two main segments, it is also a convenient place to store things: its walls are covered with the typical white bags we call CTBs that contain equipment on the Station. When you float through the PMA1 it feels as though you are going down because of its asymmetrical shape . Node-1 (Unity) This is the oldest module of the American...

Scenes from life in space: part 2

Pavel Expedition 36 commander Pavel Vinogradov is a very experienced cosmonaut who always has a friendly smile on his face. Every time he sees me – our paths normally cross 2 or 3 times a day – he tries to greet me in Italian, promptly calling me ‘signora’ (‘madam’ in Italian), wishing me ‘good evening’ even if it’s 10:00 in the morning, or delighting me with a ‘bonjour!’. But his smile is contagious and if I correct him, he laughs heartily, bringing his hand to his forehead with a resounding ‘kanieshna’ (‘of course!’ in Russian) and thanking me. We usually speak in Russian though, and a few days ago I had a...

Important task for Luca this Friday

Finally we are ready for one of the most important activities to be carried out by Luca for our Columbus system. After the arrival of the Water Pump Assembly (WPA) with ATV-4, Luca has transferred the 90-kg pump into the Columbus module. We have been anxiously waiting for the day of the installation, which is now planned for Friday 5 July. It’s not easy to find a slot of almost 3 hours of crew time: the astronauts have so many activities on their schedules that a block of 3 hours is hard to plan. Today, Luca prepared for this activity and put all the tools needed for the installation in place. He...

FASES up and running and Luca’s spacewalk

Another update form mission director Roland Luettgens on Luca’s weekly activities: ESA’s second major activity planned after the arrival of the European supply spacecraft ATV Albert Einstein was unpacking and installing the FASES experiment. Last week Luca spent almost three hours preparing the physics experiment into liquids that do not mix. After installation, the teams on Earth performed test activities to make sure that everything was working before starting the first scientific runs. We encountered a few problems that needed to be solved urgently during the test. The ground teams are always well prepared to deal with these kinds of problems. If a problem occurs, we call all the experts together in...