Encyclopedia Astronautica
ISS Columbus Orbiting Facility

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.

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • International Space Station American manned space station. Development from 1994. Assembled in orbit from 1998, with completion expected 2010. In 1987-1993 the Russians successfully assembled and operated the 124-metric ton Mir station. More...

See also
  • US Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favoured the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • ESA European agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. European Space Agency, Europe. More...
  • Alenia Italian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Alenia Spazio, Italy. More...

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