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Silent out in Space

Mueller-BBM brings acoustic comfort in the space module Columbus.

After years of preparation and extensive system tests, Europe now takes off to new horizons with Columbus. The module is the European contribution to the international space station ISS. The final completion of the 880 million euro dear and 6.9 m long research cylinder was realized by EADS Astrium in Bremen on behalf of ESA. With the high-tech laboratory, providing a storage capacity of nine tons, secrets in physics, medicine and biology shall be fathomed out under zero gravity conditions.

For this purpose, it is necessary to have intelligent measuring instruments and countless machinery, turbo-pumps and valves, which all have one thing in common: they produce disagreeable noise and disturbing micro-vibrations, all facts that are indeed likely to affect the work of the scientists and to have a mutual negative influence on the tests once Columbus starts operation at the international space station.

Mueller-BBM – having a test laboratory, among others for acoustics and vibrations, accredited according to ISO/IEC 17025 standards – qualified as an independent measuring institute and technically specialized company for the extensive acoustic final control measurements in Bremen which were performed under the critical eyes of the NASA and ESA auditors before the module was transported to the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral in Florida, in May 2006. For the acoustic measurements, all experiments planned to be realized in the orbit, were simulated with the respective instruments for three weeks, and the measurements surveyed by the engineers of Mueller-BBM.

The results were summarized in a detailed experts’ opinion. The consistent documentation of all measurements performed as well as of the measuring equipment used, the conditions prevailing at the time of test and the evaluation of the enormous quantity of measured data according to standards were accompanied by extensive quality assurance measures.

For Mueller-BBM, a normal procedure the company is accustomed to. The efficiency of the quality management system certified according to ISO 9001 as well as the competence of the laboratories accredited according to ISO/IEC 17025 standards were essential conditions for being awarded with this challenging project.



The Columbus Mission represents a decisive step ahead in basic research for Europe, and the measurements realized by Mueller-BBM during the preparation phase of the mission grant the scientists an acoustic environment without disturbances for their work.

Mueller-BBM is an internationally active engineering company with more than 250 employees at nine sites in Germany. With their independent experts, planners and technical specialists, they have consulted their clients since 1962 and today have gained a leading position in the competence fields buildings, environment and technology.

The company posses an efficient data processing infrastructure, a network where all sites are linked, state-of–the-art measuring equipment, test facilities according to standards and does highly benefit within its quality management system from the knowledge of their employees throughout the whole company. The accredited test laboratories for Noise and Vibration Control, Air Pollution Control, Hazardous Substances Evaluation, their VMPA Noise Control Testing Institute as well as the Measuring Institute, German-wide acknowledged acc. to §§ 26, 28 BimSchG, perform diversified measurements and calculations and elaborate objective opinions recognized among experts. Foto/graphics: EADS Astrium / Kurt Henseler.