Reading time ( words)
The Bartolomeo research platform, developed by Airbus for the International Space Station (ISS), has been delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA. The move marks a further step towards something never before seen in space: with its planned launch in March, the European-built Bartolomeo is set to become the first commercial research platform to be attached to the ISS.
Bartolomeo is funded by Airbus and will be operated with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). The platform can host up to 12 different payload slots, also providing them with a power supply and data transmission back to Earth.
With Bartolomeo, Airbus is offering fast and cost-efficient access to research in space, which can also be used by private data service providers. The platform’s unique vantage point 400 kilometres above the Earth offers unobstructed views of our planet. Not only does this provide opportunities for Earth observation, but also for carrying out measurements related to environmental and climate research—for example the concentration of nitrogen oxide or CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Bartolomeo will now be subject to further inspections and final functional tests with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center before being integrated into a Dragon space transporter. The launch is currently scheduled for 2 March 2020.