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Satellite Communications Technology

Bartolomeo successfully docks with Columbus laboratory

(3 April 2020 - Airbus) In a several-hour operation of the Canadian robotic arm of the International Space Station ISS, the Bartolomeo platform, developed and built at Airbus in Bremen, was assembled at the European space laboratory Columbus.

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Bartolomeo in the parking position (courtesy: NASA)

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This picture taken by the camera of the robotic arm, shows a clamp of the Bartolomeo platform slowly closing around a docking port at the Columbus laboratory (courtesy: NASA)

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Bartolomeo installed and mounted to the Columbus laboratory (courtesy: NASA)

"This was a technically extremely demanding operation," said project manager Andreas Schütte with relief. "The complex mechanisms and all interfaces of our platform with the Canadarm worked perfectly and all our planning and calculations for the installation proved to be correct. Thanks to the whole team and everyone who supported us."

Thus, an important step has been taken towards the commercial use of the platform for microgravity research. Andreas Hammer, Head of Space Exploration, congratulated the whole team: "I am pleased that our space projects are continuing in these difficult times. This was an outstanding achievement by the team, my congratulations and appreciation go to all those involved who had to work under great time pressure. They have every right to be proud of this. I would also like to thank our customers ESA and DLR, who have provided us with substantial support for our project. Now it is all the more important to find more customers for the platform in order to further advance the commercial exploitation of research in near-Earth space".

Although the platform is now firmly attached to Columbus, the electrical connection is still missing. This must be provided by an outboard mission of the ISS astronauts. When this action can take place is not yet defined.