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Columbus Man-Tended Free Flyer

The European Space Agency (ESA) approved the Columbus program in 1985. The ESA felt the need for an autonomous manned space platform on which various micro-gravity experiments could be performed. The station would compliment the proposed American space station Freedom and would be manned by a crew of 3 arriving by the Hermes spaceplane.

Columbus would consist of three elements:
  A Man-tended Free Flyer (MTFF) - the space station proper.
  An Attached Pressurized Module (APM) - another station component.
  An unmanned Polar Platform (PPF) - remote sensing and data return.

Initially, it was estimated Columbus would cost (US)$3.56 billion. By 1989 it was evident that costs would be substantially higher cuts were initiated. By the time the program was cancelled in 1991, all that remained was the APM. The APM eventually became the Columbus Laboratory, which launched to the International Space Station on 7 February 2008.

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Drawing of the Columbus MTFF

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The Columbus MTFF docked with a Hermes spaceplane


Page last modified: 11 February 2022 09:16:19.