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: ERA for astronauts ESA Explores

ESA astronaut André Kuipers first encountered the European Robotic Arm (ERA) on paper, when it was intended for a proposed spaceplane called Hermes. Many iterations later, this European-built robot will soon be launched to the International Space Station – its new home in orbit. In this episode André shares how he trained with ERA underwater in Moscow, Russia and talks us through its features from an astronaut's perspective. The launch will be streamed live on ESA Web TV: 
  1. ESA Explores: ERA for astronauts
  2. ESA Explores: a new arm for space
  3. ESA Explores: preparing for other planets
  4. ESA Explores: innovation for exploration
  5. Time and Space: 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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