There’s different companies around the world that make equipment for space. All the space agencies: Roscosmos, NASA, ESA and JAXA make equipment for ISS and in Europe the big companies who make things are places like Thales Alenia Spazio, Space Applications Services, Airbus, Telespazio Vega. There are several in the UK at Stevenage and Harwell.
It’s a long process – space qualifying something is expensive and takes ages. Equipment has a technology readiness level (TRL) from 1 to 9 and it has to get to 7 just to go to space and then 9 to be used as regular space equipment.
Joao: Equipment that flies on the ISS is prepared many years in advance. Smart people on the ground design and build them for many purposes. It can be scientifc equipment to perform different experiments, or even new parts for the ISS.
After they are built they have to be very thoroughly tested to make sure they work well, before sending them. Everything is tested: the materials, the electronics, etc.
Only after testing everything it is sent to the ISS where the astronauts will install it and use it.