Spacelab flight configurations in the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle, 1980s.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Diagram showing three ways in which the Spacelab module could be accommodated on board the Space Shuttle. Spacelab was a modular laboratory that fitted into the cargo bay of the Shuttle, and was used on numerous Shuttle misions between 1983 and 1997. It was designed and built by ESA (European Space Agency) and was Europe's first venture into manned spaceflight. Spacelab-1, the joint NASA-ESA mision was launched on 28th November 1983 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. The Space Shuttle, the world's first partially reusable launch vehicle, first flew on 12th April 1981 and has been used for all America's manned space misions ever since.