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The Cupola, which is akin to a ‘bay window’ in a house back on earth, was relocated overnight to the Tranquility modules Earth-facing (nadir) port and put in place at 1:25 AM EST this morning. The so called ‘Room with a View’ was then securely latched and bolted into place. Cupola is an innovative 7 windowed observation dome, built in Italy, that will provide spectacular panoramic views of the Earth, the station and the cosmos and simultaneously function as a robotics work station for approaching cargo ships.
STS 130 Astronauts Terry Virts and Kathryn Hire used the stations Canadian built robotic arm to slowly and methodically drive Cupola from Tranquility’s end port to its new permanent position at a side port looking directly at the Earth. The maneuver took about 2 hours.
The astronauts dealt with a relatively minor delay in releasing the cupola. Bolts attaching it to its launch position at the end cone on Tranquility had been torqued a little tighter than expected. The problem was resolved by increasing the torque applied by the stations robotic arm to unscrew the bolts and detach Cupola.
First light through the windows is expected on Tuesday after Spacewalkers Patrick and Behnken remove the protective window covers during EVA-3, their final spacewalk of the STS-130 mission. The covers have been in place since before launch to shield the windows from debris and damage.