The latest episode of ESA Explores podcast series ‘Time and Space’ series is out now, with a focus on the launch of Europe’s Columbus laboratory.

Columbus is ESA’s science and research laboratory on the International Space Station. It is ESA’s largest single contribution to the orbital outpost and was also the first permanent European research facility in space.

With 75 cubic metres of space and an entire suite of research equipment, plus external platforms to support experiments and applications in space science, Earth observation and technology, Columbus offers European scientists full access to a weightless environment that cannot be duplicated on Earth. 

ESA Explores: becoming an astronaut ESA Explores

As the European Space Agency (ESA) recruits its first astronauts in over 10 years, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano shares his journey to spaceflight and some of the qualities he's observed in his fellow space explorers.  Luca has now flown two six-month missions to the International Space Station, but did he always want to be an astronaut? What do astronauts do when they're not in space? And what advice would Luca give to astronaut hopefuls? This second episode in our space careers series covers all this and more. ESA's accepting applications for the role of Astronaut and Astronaut (with a physical disability) until 28 May 2021. Visit for how to apply.   
  1. ESA Explores: becoming an astronaut
  2. ESA Explores: space careers
  3. Time and Space: launching Columbus to orbit
  4. Time and Space: entering the ISS era
  5. ESA Explores: agency heads look forward to the Moon

Frank De Winne during emergency evacuation training at Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Frank De Winne during emergency evacuation training at Kennedy Space Center, Florida

In this episode of the ESA Explores Time and Space series, hosts Stephen Ennis and Alison Koehler talk to two people who were there at a critical time in European spaceflight history. Former ESA ISS programme manager Bernardo Patti and ESA astronaut Frank De Winne share their experiences of the International Space Station before the research hub’s addition, Columbus’ launch on Space Shuttle Atlantis, the tragedy that preceded it, and what the science lab – along with Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) programme enabled for Europeans in space to this day.

Do not forget, ESA is opening applications for its 2021-22 astronaut selection on 31 March 2021. For more on how you can help shape the future of space exploration visit the website

Episodes of the ESA Explores podcast are available on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Podbean. Simply search for ‘ESA Explores’ and subscribe to stay up to date.

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