At a ceremony to mark the delivery of the European laboratory for the International Space Station (ISS), Columbus, by EADS SPACE Transportation to the European Space Agency (ESA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the international cooperation aspects of Columbus and the ISS, as an example for a world with less boundaries. The ceremony, held in Bremen, Germany, marked the final integration of the laboratory before it was shipped to Cape Canaveral from where it will be flown on a Space Shuttle to the ISS in the second half of 2007.

During its planned 10-year operational lifetime, scientific researchers in Europe, with the help of the astronauts onboard and a Europe-wide support infrastructure on the ground, will be able to conduct a vast programme of experiments in the areas of the life and physical sciences, materials science, fundamental physics and technology research.

The Columbus laboratory is Europe’s cornerstone contribution to the ISS and is regarded as an important technology driver for European industry and as a basis for European researchers to perform world-class research in space.