European Columbus Module Preparated for Atlantis Mission

With the shuttles back to their regular flight schedule, NASA is working through the backlog of components they need to attach to the International Space Station. One of the important ones will be the Columbus space laboratory, developed by the European Space Agency.

Columbus was flown to Florida back in May, 2006, to get in line for its launch to the station. Earlier this year, it was removed from temporary storage, and engineers equipped it with experiment racks and orbital hardware. After a break over the summer, workers will continue preparing it for launch. If all goes well, it will blast into space atop the space shuttle Atlantis as early as December 6th, 2007.

The module was originally supposed to launch in 2002, but the Columbia disaster and the station construction delays pushed the schedule back 5 years.

Original Source: ESA News Release