After Hours

Endeavour crew installs a 'window to the world'

Last week, space shuttle Endeavour crewmembers added a new windowed module to the International Space Station.

Image credit: NASA

Last week, space shuttle Endeavour crewmembers added a new windowed module to the International Space Station. This module will provide additional living space in the form of a cupola, which contains seven windows. These windows should provide a view of Earth, celestial objects, and visiting spacecraft and enhance life aboard the space station. To show some scale, the center window is about 32" across. These windows look astonishingly like the Millennium Falcon's cockpit.

In addition to the aesthetic appeal, the cupola serves as a control center for the station's robotic arms and will allow crew to monitor spacewalks and other exterior activities. Each window can be opened and closed independently of the others. This was tested and demonstrated during the installation procedure by Endeavour pilot Terry Virts, while crewmembers Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick completed the installation during a spacewalk.

Following the successful installation, the crew of the ISS and Endeavour received a call from President Obama and some middle-school children expressing their congratulations and giving the children the opportunity to ask the astronauts some questions.

Endeavour made a successful touchdown on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility after two weeks in space.

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