informa
/
News

Space Station Gets A Room With a View

ISS crew installs new Tranquility module, which was delivered Thursday by space shuttle Endeavour.
Crewmembers from the International Space Station completed a six-and-a-half hour, overnight spacewalk to install a new module that will offer residents of the manned satellite panoramic views of the Earth, passing spacecraft, and celestial objects.

Astronauts Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick exited the ISS's Quest airlock module at 9:17 p.m. EST to ready the new Tranquility node and attached cupola for transport from Endeavour's cargo bay to the space station.

The module is designed to increase the ISS's internal space and the attached cupola, a robotic, windowed control station, will provide the space-front views.

Behnken and Patrick completed their tasks at 3:49 a.m. Friday morning.

Shuttle crewmembers then used the spacecraft's external Canadarm2 to maneuver the Tranquility node into position on the ISS and lock it in place. NASA said the operations went as planned.

Endeavour successfully docked with the ISS early Wednesday.

The docking was preceded by a standard rendezvous pitch maneuver in which the spacecraft does a "back flip" in order to attain the attitude required to couple with the ISS.

The roll also gave crew aboard the space station the chance to photograph the shuttle's underside so experts at NASA Mission Control could assess the health of the craft's heat shield.

No problems were reported.

Endeavour's current mission will see the astronauts perform three spacewalks in total to conduct maintenance and repair operations on the ISS. The shuttle blasted off at 4:14 a.m. Monday, following a one-day delay caused by inclement weather.

Endeavour is carrying a five-member crew, including commander George Zamka, pilot Terry Virts, and mission specialists Kay Hire, Steve Robinson, and Nicholas Patrick.

STS-130 is Endeavour's 24th flight and the 130th for the space shuttle program overall. NASA is cancelling the program at the end of 2010, and there are only four remaining missions scheduled through the remainder of this year.

InformationWeek has published a report on how telepresence is turning video communications into a near in-person experience. Download the report here (registration required).