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Tue, Feb 16, 2010

Astronauts Move Cupola To Permanent Location

Tranquility Viewport To Be Ready For Use Later This Week

The International Space Station’s new viewport is facing the Earth now, ready to provide a panoramic view of the planet below and approaching cargo ships. Relocation of the cupola from the Tranquility node’s forward port to its new location was completed at 0131 EST Monday.

NASA Photo

Space shuttle Endeavour Mission Specialist Kathryn Hire and Pilot Terry Virts moved the cupola, operating the station’s Canadarm2 from controls in the U.S. laboratory, Destiny. Station Commander Jeff Williams operated the latches and bolts that released the cupola from its launch location and then secured it to its new home.

There was a minor delay in releasing the cupola. The bolts attaching it to its launch position on Tranquility had been torqued in Earth’s gravity and were a little tighter than expected. Flight controllers slightly increased the torque to release the bolts, resolving the problem. The cupola’s attachment to the Earth-facing port went smoothly.

Outfitting of the cupola, including preparations for filling water lines and for installation of a robotics workstation there, continued. Crew members are expected to get their first look out the cupola windows after Tuesday’s third and final scheduled spacewalk of Endeavour’s stay at the station.

 Endeavour’s spacewalkers, Mission Specialists Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick, spent about an hour and a half early in their day preparing for that excursion. Part of those preparations involved resizing another spacesuit for Behnken. The suit he wore on the first two spacewalks had some communications dropouts.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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