EP-165 Spacelab



An International Short-Stay Orbiting Laboratory


painting illustrating Spacelab inside the shuttle's cargo bay

by Walter Froehlich

The 10 Europeans nations that jointly designed, built, and financed Spacelab through the European Space Agency (ESA): Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration will manage Spacelab flights.


- Spacelab Scheduled Early Flights -


Flight Name & No.

Shuttle Flight Number

Tentative Launch Date

Type of Mission




October 1983

Test flight for Spacelab systems. "Multidiscipline mission" with large variety of science and technology experiments.



September 1984

Configuration as in SL-1 with experiments in materials processing, space technology, life sciences, and astrophysical and environmental observations.



March 1985

Second test flight for Spacelab systems. "Multidiscipline mission" with pallets only (no habitable module), specializing in astronomy and solar and plasma physics.



June 1985

First Spacelab flight entirely purchased by one country. West Germany reserved this mission for use by its universities and by industries and other research institutions, though some experiments will be carried for the United States and several other European countries under special arrangements.



December 1985

"Discipline mission" dedicated to life sciences with 24 experiments on biomedical problems associated with space flight and the effects of near weightlessness on living systems.


* SL-2 was originally scheduled for flight ahead of SL-3, but was postponed because the Instrument Pointing System essential for this mission's experiments could not be ready at an earlier date. Thus, SL-3 will take place ahead of SL-2


- Table of Contents -


"If the Shuttle itself embodies all that is bold and dynamic in the American character, Spacelab symbolizes the unity an determination of free Europe....The knowledge Spacelab will bring back from its many missions will belong to all mankind...."

- Vice-President George Bush at the ceremony for Spacelab's arrival from Europe at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, February 5, 1982.



CHAPTER ONE: What is Spacelab?.

CHAPTER TWO: A Sightseer's Tour of Spacelab of Spacelab.

CHAPTER THREE: Meet the Crew.

CHAPTER FOUR: Spacelab at Work: The Experiments (Part I).

CHAPTER FIVE: Spacelab at Work: The Experiments (Part II).

CHAPTER SIX: A Day Aboard Spacelab.

CHAPTER SEVEN: Spacelab- its Birth, its Impact, its Future.

About the Author.