EXPOSE-R flew as the second of the European Space Agency (ESA) EXPOSE multi-user facilities on the International Space Station. During the mission on the external URM-D platform of the Zvezda service module, samples of eight international astrobiology experiments selected by ESA and one Russian guest experiment were exposed to low Earth orbit space parameters from March 10th, 2009 to January 21st, 2011. EXPOSE-R accommodated a total of 1220 samples for exposure to selected space conditions and combinations, including space vacuum, temperature cycles through 273 K, cosmic radiation, solar electromagnetic radiation at >110, >170 or >200 nm at various fluences up to GJ m−2. Samples ranged from chemical compounds via unicellular organisms and multicellular mosquito larvae and seeds to passive radiation dosimeters. Additionally, one active radiation measurement instrument was accommodated on EXPOSE-R and commanded from ground in accordance with the facility itself. Data on ultraviolet radiation, cosmic radiation and temperature were measured every 10 s and downlinked by telemetry and data carrier every few months. The EXPOSE-R trays and samples returned to Earth on March 9th, 2011 with Shuttle flight, Space Transportation System (STS)-133/ULF 5, Discovery, after successful total mission duration of 27 months in space. The samples were analysed in the individual investigators laboratories. A parallel Mission Ground Reference experiment was performed on ground with a parallel set of hardware and samples under simulated space conditions following to the data transmitted from the flight mission.