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Join ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer on a tour of Columbus, Europe’s science laboratory on the International Space Station.

Cosmic Kiss is Matthias’s first mission to the Space Station and the Columbus module is one of his main workplaces. It is also where he sleeps in his crew quarters known as CASA.

Columbus is Europe’s largest contribution to the orbital outpost and the first European laboratory for permanent, multidisciplinary research in space. It houses 16 standardised payload cabinets, known as racks, which host laboratory equipment and technical systems. This allows the facility to support research across a wide range of different scientific disciplines.

Work focuses on materials science, fluid physics, chemistry, remote sensing, biology, biotechnology, medicine and human physiology, as well as technology demonstrations to aid innovation on Earth. Once installed by an astronaut, many of the experiments that happen in Columbus can be remotely controlled and monitored by User Support Operations Centres on the ground.

Matthias will live and work in orbit for approximately six months for his Cosmic Kiss mission. During this time, he will conduct and support more than 35 European and numerous other international experiments in microgravity.

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