Fluid science laboratory: ready to fly! lessons learned on preparatory activities, operations and performances

C. Albanese, L. Carotenuto, A. Ceriello, P. Dell'Aversana, R. Fortezza, M. Lappa, F. Peluso, F. Pezzuti, C. Piccolo, G. Verzino, G. Bonnat, E. Pensavalle, R. Marangoni, L. Rina, G. Trinchero

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

5 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


The Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL) is a multi-user research facility on board the Columbus Orbital Facility (COF) dedicated to investigations in fluid physics under Microgravity conditions. It can be operated in a fully automatic or semi-automatic mode on the station by the flight crew or remotely controlled from ground in Telescience mode. This essentially resulted in a highly modular concept allowing for continual upgrades of the system capabilities throughout its defined operational lifetime. All these drawer-like modules are integrated in an International Standard Payload Rack (ISPR). MARS as FRC (Facility Responsible Centre) has the possibility to control FSL totally from ground increasing dramatically its operability in space ensuring, during the nominal operations, the complete independence of the experiment conduction from the onboard crew.
These enormous capabilities offered by the equipment impose, on the other hand, a complex interaction between the users and the laboratory for the monitoring of all the processes running in parallel.
On March ’06 the Fluid Science Laboratory, after 8 years of development carried out at Thales Alenia Space Italia, was integrated into the Columbus Orbital Laboratory, located in Bremen, and completed the testing activities together with the other European Facilities developed to perform scientific microgravity experiments. In the meantime, the FSL Science Reference Model was hosted in the MARS laboratory for scientific activities based on the use of the optical diagnostic of FSL Few months later, the FSL Engineering Model, another 500 Kg of equipment, was entering slowly into its dedicated clean room to start the preparatory phase for the operative support to the flight unit planned for the next decade. Furthermore, a FSL Training Model was delivered to ESA Astronaut Center in Cologne (D) for supporting the Columbus crew training. Up to now FSL is the most sophisticated Microgravity Laboratory realized.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication58th Congress of the International Astronautical Federation, 2007, 24-28 September 2007, Hyderabad, India
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event58th International Astronautical Congress - Hyderabad, India
Duration: 24 Sept 200728 Sept 2007


Conference58th International Astronautical Congress
CityHyderabad, India


  • Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL)
  • microgravity conditions
  • fluid physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluid science laboratory: ready to fly! lessons learned on preparatory activities, operations and performances'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this