Space station gets a room with a view

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station added an observation deck that will give residents of the orbital outpost a panoramic view of the station and Earth below.

Space station gets a room with a view

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station on Monday added an observation deck that will give residents of the orbital outpost a panoramic view of the station and Earth below.

After struggling with some jammed bolts, crew of the shuttle Endeavour used the station's robot arm to connect the Italian-made cupola to the newly delivered Tranquility connecting hub.

"It's going to help when we do robotic operations," Endeavour astronaut Terry Virts said in an in-flight interview. "It'll give us a big view in a lot of different directions."

Robot arm operators aboard the station now rely solely on camera views, with no direct view outside.

With Tranquility and the viewing port installed, major construction on the $100 billion orbital outpost is complete. NASA has only four more space shuttle missions scheduled to ferry spare parts and supplies to the station, a project of 16 nations that has been under construction since 1998.

Endeavour and six astronauts blasted off on Feb. 8 for a 13-day construction mission. NASA added an extra day to the flight to give the station crew help getting the new modules ready for use.

Endeavour is due back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday.

Tranquility is being outfitted with a toilet, oxygen generator, air scrubber, water recycling system and other equipment to support the live-aboard station crew.

During the second of three spacewalks planned during Endeavour's stay, astronauts on Saturday connected Tranquility's main cooling system. A backup system is scheduled to be installed on the final spacewalk on Tuesday.

NASA is trying to get as much as possible finished on the station before it retires its fleet of three shuttles later this year.


Reuters

Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2010, 15:48
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