|astronautix.com||Columbus Space Station|
|ESA Station 1982 - ESA. European space station (Aerospatiale concept, 1982).|
Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 32,205 bytes. 333 x 440 pixels.
The European Space Agency (ESA) became an increasingly important factor in space during the late 1970s and early 80s. Europe's 'Ariane' launch vehicle was a huge commercial success and ESA also built the 'Spacelab' pressurised laboratory module for the American Space Shuttle program. Spacelab contractors such as MBB and Alitalia started to examine possible follow-on manned projects, including independent ESA space stations. German and Italian companies had already proposed an integrated European manned spaceflight program named 'Columbus' when President Reagan invited other countries to join the US-led Space Station program. Columbus would have utilised modified Spacelab pressurised modules but it was not yet clear if the project should be carried out as an independent man-tended European space platform, or if Europe instead should provide an attached laboratory module to the US Station complex. The man-tended free-flying option would have consisted of a pressurised module, 'payload carriers' based on Eureca platform technologies and a new Resource Module that would provide power, communications, guidance, navigation and control to the other modules.
The option initially favoured by the Europeans would have been capable of undocking from the US Space Station complex to perform sensitive microgravity experiments in an unmanned mode. The total estimated cost was 1750 million European Currency Units and Germany was willing to fund up to 50% with Italy providing 25%. The Europeans were also looking at space transportation elements to complement the Eureca platform and Columbus space station. Candidates included a winged reusable booster rocket for the Ariane-5 and a multipurpose 'space tug' for servicing satellites as well as transporting cargo to Columbus.
Article by Marcus Lindroos
|ESA Station 84 - The Europeans were also looking at space transportation elements to complement the Eureca platform (top right) and Columbus space station (top left). Candidates included a winged reusable booster rocket for the Ariane-5 (bottom left) and a multipurpose "space tug" (center) for servicing satellites as well as transporting cargo to Columbus.|
Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 30,403 bytes. 553 x 398 pixels.
|ESA Columbus 1984 - ESA Station. |
Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 49,720 bytes. 637 x 473 pixels.