was a reusable laboratory flown into
space on the Space Shuttle
. It allowed
scientists to perform experiments in microgravity
in Earth orbit. The laboratory
consisted of multiple components, including a pressurized module,
an unpressurized carrier and other related hardware.
1973, NASA and ESRO (now European Space Agency (ESA)) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to
build a science laboratory for use on Space Shuttle flights.
Construction of Spacelab started in 1974 by the ERNO
(daughter of VFW-Fokker GmbH
, after merger with MBB
named MBB/ERNO, and since 2003 part of
). The first set including lab module,
, was given to NASA free of charge by ESA in
exchange for flight opportunities for European astronauts.
module, LM2, was bought by NASA for its own
use from ERNO.
In addition to the laboratory module, the
complete set also included five external pallets for experiments in
vacuum, built by British Aerospace
and a pressurized igloo containing the subsystems needed for the
pallet-only flight configuration operation.
Spacelab layout showing tunnel,
pressurized Module and Pallet.
Eight flight configurations were qualified though even more could
The Spacelab components were used on 25 shuttle flights, but the
components were decommissioned in 1998 except the pallets. Science
work was to be moved to the International Space Station
module, a pressurized carrier
similar to the Spacelab Module. A Spacelab Pallet was
recommissioned in 2002 for flight on STS-99
The "Spacelab Pallet - Deployable 1 (SLP-D1) with Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous
, Dextre" was launched on STS-123
. "Spacelab Pallet - Deployable 2 (SLP-D2)"
was scheduled for STS-127
LM2 is now on display in the Bremenhalle
exhibition in the Bremen
Airport of Bremen, Germany.
The Spacelab Module consists of a cylindrical main laboratory
configurable as Short or Long Module flown in the rear of the Space
Shuttle cargo bay, connected to the crew compartment by a tunnel.
The laboratory had an outer diameter of 4.12 m, and each segment a
length of 2.7 m. Most of the time two segments were used in forming
the Long Module configuration.
The Spacelab Pallet is a U-shaped platform for mounting
instrumentation, large instruments, experiments requiring exposure
to space, and instruments requiring a large field of view, such as
telescopes. The pallet has several hard points for mounting heavy
equipment. The pallet can be used in single configuration or
stacked end to end in double or triple configurations. Up to five
pallets can be configured in the Space Shuttle cargo bay by using a
double plus triple pallet.
Other Spacelab elements include the tunnel, Igloo, and the
Instrument Pointing System (IPS) tailored to the pallet interfaces
for precise pointing to space or earth targets.
||Spacelab mission name
||November 28, 1983
||Module LM1 and Pallet
||April 29, 1985
||July 29, 1985
||Triple Pallet configuration
||October 30, 1985
||December 2, 1990
||June 5, 1991
||January 22, 1992
||March 24, 1992
||Double Pallet configuration
||June 25, 1992
||September 12, 1992
||April 8, 1993
||April 26, 1993
||October 18, 1993
||April 9, 1994
||July 8, 1994
||September 30, 1994
||November 3, 1994
||March 2, 1995
||June 27, 1995
||October 20, 1995
||June 20, 1996
||April 4, 1997
||July 1, 1997
||April 17, 1998
||February 11, 2000
- STS-92, October 2000, PMA-3, ( )
- STS-108, December 2001, Lightweight
Mission Peculiar Support Structure Carrier (LMC) ( )
- STS-123, March 2008, Pallet ( ),