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Airbus Defence and Space, ESA to Place External Payload Platform on ISS

By | June 2, 2016
      ISS Columbus NASA 2008

      The ISS Columbus module. Photo: NASA

      [Via Satellite 06-02-2016] Airbus Defence and Space and the European Space Agency (ESA) are starting a joint pilot project to establish a new external payload platform on the International Space Station (ISS). The platform, named Bartolomeo after the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, will be attached to the outside of the European Columbus laboratory module in 2018, providing access to power and data resources for customer payloads.

      Airbus Defence and Space and ESA envision the platform will be part of an end-to-end service designed to provide fast, cost-efficient and reliable access to the ISS for private and institutional users on commercial terms. The Bartolomeo all-in-one payload mission service is aimed at customers from areas including Earth observation, technology demonstrators, astro- and heliophysics, material science and new space flight applications.

      “ESA intends to stimulate private sector engagement in space exploration and foster innovative and inspiring approaches for future ESA missions. Enhancing private sector capabilities and demand for ISS utilization will open perspectives for commercial approaches for exploitation ISS and post-ISS infrastructures,” said David Parker, ESA director for human and robotic exploration.

      Today NanoRacks has an external platform on the ISS, which launched last year aboard the Japanese HTV-5 resupply vessel.