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ESA Columbus COF
ESA Columbus COF - ESA Columbus Orbiting Facility. ESA Columbus Man-Tended Free-Flying Platform and Crew Transfer Vehicle (fallback option). If the International Space Station were cancelled, the fallback plan was to convert the COF module into a small Man-Tended Free Flying platform. A manned Crew Transfer Vehicle space capsule and Automated Transfer Vehicle (logistics, resupply) would then give Europe an autonomous manned spaceflight capability. The COF module is small enough to be launched on an Ariane-5 rocket rather than the Shuttle, although this option was abandoned in the mid-1990s. In 1992, Daimler Benz Aerospace and Russia's NPO Energia also investigated the possibility of building a joint European/Russian free-flying platform as part of Russia's "Mir-2" program before the Russian space station merged with the US-led International Space Station project. Nation: Europe. Agency: ESA.

In October 1993, ESA decided to further slash its overall budget by a combined $4.8 billion in 1994-2000. The Columbus space station module survived, but in a reduced form. It would now cost $900 million less than the proposed $3.1 billion through 2000. The new Columbus Orbiting Facility (COF) was shorter and lighter. It was based on the same Alenia-developed pressurised module as the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module.

Its launch was postponed to the early 21st century when the Space Station was designed in 1993, in part because the European Space Agency wanted to reduce the near term cost by delaying the project. If the International Space Station were cancelled, the fallback plan was to convert the COF module into a small Man-Tended Free Flying platform. A manned Crew Transfer Vehicle space capsule and Automated Transfer Vehicle (logistics, resupply) would then give Europe an autonomous manned spaceflight capability. The COF module was small enough to be launched on an Ariane-5 rocket rather than the Shuttle, although this option was abandoned in the mid-1990s. In 1992, Daimler Benz Aerospace and Russia's NPO Energia also investigated the possibility of building a joint European/Russian free-flying platform as part of Russia's 'Mir-2' program before the Russian space station merged with the US-led International Space Station project.


Multi-Purpose LMMulti-Purpose LM - Multi-Purpose Logistics Module - MPLM.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 30,861 bytes. 640 x 446 pixels.


Article by Marcus Lindroos
Specification



ESA Columbus COFESA Columbus COF - ESA Columbus Orbiting Facility.

Credit: ESA via Marcus Lindroos. 58,307 bytes. 640 x 495 pixels.



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Last update 12 March 2001.
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