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UK’s First Industrial Contribution to International Space Station Ready for Launch

15 Feb 2020, 08:05 UTC
UK’s First Industrial Contribution to International Space Station Ready for Launch
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COLka undergoing testing in the Hertz test chamber at the European Space Agency in The Netherlands. COLKa’s radio signals are being recorded. The blue spikes isolate the room from electromagnetic interference, recreating the radio frequencies of space. (Credit: ESA–M. Cowan)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (UK Space Agency PR) — UK-built technology that will revolutionise the science astronauts carry out on the International Space Station is due to launch today (15 February).

Called COLKa for ‘Columbus Ka-band Terminal’, the system will allow astronauts and researchers to benefit from a direct link with Europe at home broadband speeds, relaying data from experiments on the ISS back to Earth almost instantaneously.

The fridge-sized device is due to launch aboard a Cygnus supply ship from Wallops Island, Virginia just before 9pm UK time on Friday. Two astronauts will carry out a spacewalk later this year to mount it to the outside of the Columbus module on the ISS.

Dr Graham Turnock, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said:

This is the first major industrial contribution from the UK to the ISS and it will revolutionise the ability of scientists in the UK and Europe to access the results of their experiments.This is yet another ...

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