US space shuttle Discovery launched successfully – work on ISS set to continue
Further contracts for OHB-System AG pending launch of the European Columbus Module in 2007
Staff at Bremen-based space technology company OHB-System AG are closely following the mission of the Discovery space shuttle, which was launched today at 4:39 pm from Cape Canaveral headed for the International Space Station (ISS) with a seven-strong crew on board. “The success of this mission is of key importance for advances in manned space flight,” explained Prof. Manfred Fuchs, CEO of OHB-System AG.
The 12-day “Return to Flight” mission will be primarily serving testing and supply purposes. However, the future of manned space flight, particularly further extensions to the International Space Station ISS, hinges on its success.
The European Space Agency ESA has been using the delays in the launch of the European Laboratory Module COLUMBUS to further optimize the experiment facilities. For OHB-System AG, the waiting period until 2007 means additional projects worth a total of some EUR 6 million for further development and maintenance work on the laboratories and subsystems developed by OHB as well as the EPM medical research laboratory, the FSL physical research laboratory and the Biolab biological research laboratory.
On top of this, OHB-System AG has received a further order worth around EUR 400,000 for optimizing the Flywheel space workout device which it is currently building for ESA. Once work on the ISS resumes, the fleet of automatic transfer vehicles (ATV) for supplying the ISS will also go into operation. OHB is producing the cable harnesses and the anti-meteorite protection shields for the total of six models.
The Discovery is scheduled to return to earth at 11:54 AM on August 7, 2005. If the mission is successful, this will spur manned space flight and reinforce the focus on new tasks, such as using the moon as an outpost for humanity as well a launching pad for missions to Mars.