Monday, December 2, 2013

Spacelab: Space Shuttle Flew Europe's First Space Module 30 Years Ago

by Robert Z. Pearlman, Editor | December 02, 2013 01:17pm ET

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Spacelab module is seen in the payload bay of space shuttle Columbia during the lab's first spaceflight on the STS-9 mission in 1983.
Credit: NASA/
It doesn't seem out of place today, but the sight 30 years ago of a cylindrical module mounted inside the space shuttle's cargo bay was described as an "odd-appearing assemblage" in 1983.

The unusual payload was Spacelab, a $1 billion European built, NASA-operated space-borne science platform, which would not only set the stage for investigations onboard the space shuttle, but would lay the foundation for major parts of today's International Space Station.

Space shuttle Columbia launched on Nov. 28, 1983, lifting into orbit the Spacelab and six astronauts. Under the lead of commander John Young, the STS-9 crew included pilot Brewster Shaw and mission specialists Owen Garriott and Robert Parker.

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