Image: Columbus module to scale
The focus of this image is the suspended European Columbus module being moved onto a work stand in a cleanroom at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.
Of course, a cylindrical module of more than 10 t (without payloads) for housing laboratory equipment, storage units and three working astronauts is big, but the contrast between Columbus and the people in the image is startling. Even more so when we remember that Columbus is one of 16 similarly sized modules orbiting 400 km over our heads.
Countless teams across Europe were involved in the planning, building and assembly of the parts that make up this orbital lab. Teams of people were involved in shipping Columbus across the Atlantic, where it was carefully received by even more partners in the greatest human endeavour.
This image of Columbus was taken in the summer of 2006, shortly after the module arrived at the launch site. Teams at NASA put Columbus through its final paces to ensure it was airtight and ready for flight.
It would be another year and half before Columbus made its way to the International Space Station, in 2008. Ten remarkable years later, there is much to celebrate about this long-planned and hard-earned European contribution to the international space community.
To mark the occasion, ESA is hosting a get-together of the larger Columbus family of planners, builders, scientists, support teams and astronauts at our technical heart in the Netherlands on 7 February. The event will be livestreamed to the public, with more details coming soon.