Columbus Free Flyer, artwork

Columbus Free Flyer, artwork

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Columbus Free Flyer, computer artwork. 1980s ESA design for a Man-Tended Free Flyer (MTFF), an unpressurised laboratory that would orbit separately from the US space station and be serviced by the Hermes shuttle. It was approved in 1985, but eventually scaled back and, from 1993, incorporated into the design of the International Space Station (ISS). The MTFF would have been used for sensitive microgravity research while satisfying European needs for an autonomous manned space platform.

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