Worlds biggest space aquarium ready for take off again

OHB-SYSTEM AG delivers aquarium to Kennedy Space Center

Fish to follow in two weeks

Yesterday 35 small containers with a total of 2.3 tons of scientific and technical equipment left the premises of OHB-System AG, Bremen, for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The components shipped include the C.E.B.A.S. mini-module developed and built by OHB-System, a self-sufficient aquatic eco-system that will fly its third space mission in July on board the Space Shuttle Columbia. With a water volume of 8.6 liters, C.E.B.A.S. will be the biggest aquarium that has ever been flown into orbit. This miniature ecosystem accommodates swordtails, small multicolored bream, water snails and plants that will ensure each other´s mutual survival in outer space.

One of the objectives of the mission is to examine the impact of gravity on the development of ecosystems. For one thing, the findings will serve as a basis for fundamental research on the effects of gravity on the ecosystem of our earth. For another, studying aquatic life in conditions of weightlessness may provide valuable information for future missions to Mars. Further studies of the sensory organ for weightlessness are to provide knowledge of the mechanisms behind space and sea sickness.

In two weeks, OHB-System scientists and engineers will travel to the Kennedy Space Center with the first inhabitants of the aquarium. In addition to the scientific and technical preparations for the C.E.B.A.S. flight, they will establish a breeding facility for the biological inhabitants of the mini-module as has already been done at OHB in Bremen since not every fish is suitable for the flight. They have to have a certain age. For this reason, OHB-System will in future operate 15 aquariums at the Kennedy Space Center, the launch pad of the space missions.

Apart from OHB-System AG, the Universities of Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Bochum, Düsseldorf, Bonn and Bremen are participating in this experiment.

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Günther Hörbst
Head of Corporate Communications

Manfred-Fuchs-Platz 2-4
28359 Bremen

Phone.: +49 421 2020-9438
Mobile: +49 171 1931041