The International Space Station (ISS) is one of the most ambitious scientific and technical projects ever undertaken. It is an unprecedented international endeavor, with 10 European countries joining the United States, Japan, Canada and Russia. When completed, the ISS will weigh nearly 500 tons, stretch over 100 metres long and 80 metres wide, and offer 1,000 cubic metres of living space some 400 kilometers above the Earth. It is hoped that experiments carried out in this impressive microgravity environment will stimulate tremendous advances in earthbound technology. EADS Astrium is leading the European contribution to this project and was selected by ESA as prime contractor for two key elements: the Columbus Orbital Facility (COF), a multifunction space laboratory, and the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) supply vessel.
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