Cupola Bay Window bolted to face Earth; Stunning 38 Second Video

by Ken Kremer on February 15, 2010

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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 cupola, attached to the station's robotic arm, is relocated to Tranquility's Earth-facing port. Credit: NASA TV

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.

Earlier STS 130/ISS and SDO articles by Ken Kremer

Space Plumbers hook up crucial Tranquility cooling and power to Space Station

Tranquility attached to Space Station

Sky on Fire as Endeavour Blasts to Space

Orion can Launch Safely in 2013 says Lockheed

Russian Cargo Freighter Docks at ISS; 1 Day to Endeavour launch

Endeavour astronauts arrive at Cape for launch of Tranquility

ISS Crew Twitpics from Orbit; Live Streaming Video Soon !

Path clear for STS 130 to attach Tranquility module

Endeavour aiming for on time launch with coolant hose fix ahead of schedule

STS 130 flight pressing forward to launch as NASA resolves coolant hose leak

STS-130 Shuttle flight facing delay due to Payload technical glitch

Shuttle Endeavour Rolled to Pad; Countdown to the Final Five Begins

Tranquility Module Formally Handed over to NASA from ESA

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com

Aqua February 15, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Very exciting! I watched off and on for hours yesterday… or at least it seemed that long.. and here it all is condensed into 38 seconds!

Tomorrow’s ‘grand unveiling’ should/will provide some unique spacewalk views! More NBSB (Never Been Seen Before)!

Will an IMAX *.cam fit in the Cupola?

Hans-Peter Dollhopf February 15, 2010 at 9:19 AM

I want to submit a question, because I just now watched CNN’s “Valentine’s Day spacewalk” video. And what impressed me most in this pictures was the uselessness of the legs of the astronauts. I had the impression that they just stuck out of their spacesuits. So it came to my mind, that maybe the construction of the spacesuits for EVA in space is a misconception.

Astronauts in space do not walk but float! I guess that it is a waste of ressources to construct suits with features for a purpose that is nearly never required.

As usually, I will be disabused. So I’m curious. Why would it not be more efficient to construct suits for EVAs in pure space without legs? Would it not be easier to construct a sort of cocoon than two legs? Just for floating, of course!

Nancy Atkinson February 15, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Hans-Peter — The astronauts do use their feet and legs for positioning themselves and sometimes use a foot-restraint to hold themselves secure. Just think about the mobility problems of being in a cocoon rather than having the ability to push off and/or move around with two legs. Certainly, they likely use their arms more than legs, but mobility is restricted anyway in such a bulky suit — let’s not put additional restrictions on moving about in space by putting the astronauts legs in bag!

Hans-Peter Dollhopf February 15, 2010 at 11:04 AM

“The astronauts do use their feet and legs for positioning themselves and sometimes use a foot-restraint to hold themselves secure.”

hopefully they do. What else should they do. I am just wondering what could be gained instead.

An imaginary jump through evolution: how would legs of a eternaly spacefaring spezies evolve? Maybe that space suits should be thought of from the other end af evolution. Not how make use out of what is, but of how adaptation would have done.

Manu February 15, 2010 at 6:50 PM

I never see embedded videos on UT. No idea why, but it would be nice to also link to them.

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