Simulating Spacelab

Spacelab was Europe's contribution to the Space Shuttle programme, borne out of negotiations held during 1969 between NASA and the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO - from 1975, the European Space Agency, ESA), which decided to develop a manned orbital laboratory to be carried to and from orbit by the Shuttle in its cargo bay. The idea of a "Sortie Module'' evolved in 1971, with a first concept appearing in 1972 and a final design for the Space Laboratory (Spacelab) emerging in 1973. Contracts were awarded in 1974, with a design and development phase held between 1974 and 1978. Construction commenced early in 1977 and was completed with delivery of the engineering mock-up to KSC in 1980, the first flight unit (consisting of a long pressurised module and five pallets) in 1981 and the second in 1982.4

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