EXPOSE, an Astrobiological Exposure Facility on the International Space Station - from Proposal to Flight
Following an European Space Agency announcement of opportunity in 1996 for ”Externally mounted payloads for 1st utilization phase” on the International Space Station (ISS), scientists working in the fields of astrobiology proposed experiments aiming at long-term exposure of a variety of chemical compounds and extremely resistant microorganisms to the hostile space environment. The ESA exposure facility EXPOSE was built and an operationś concept was prepared. The EXPOSE experiments were developed through an intensive pre-flight experiment verification test program. 12 years later, two sets of astrobiological experiments in two EXPOSE facilities have been successfully launched to the ISS for external exposure for up to 1.5 years. EXPOSE-E, now installed at the balcony of the European Columbus module, was launched in February 2008, while EXPOSE-R took off to the ISS in November 2008 and was installed on the external URM-D platform of the Russian Zvezda module in March 2009.