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Astronauts Move Cupola

February 15, 2010

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 Tranquility’s forward port to its new location was completed at 12:31 a.m. CST.

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. Expedition 22 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 spacewalk had some communications dropouts.

The station’s refurbished Urine Processing Assembly continued to work as expected. Flight controllers said it processed more than 2.5 gallons of urine during the day.

During the morning of their work day, Virts and Hire answered questions from students at NASA Explorer Schools. Just before the end of their day, Virts and Behnken will talk with reporters from WOR Radio New York and television stations KTVI-TV in St. Louis and WREG-TV in Memphis.

The shuttle crew’s bedtime is set for 7:14 a.m.

Image Caption: The cupola, attached to the station’s robotic arm, is relocated to Tranquility’s Earth-facing port. Image credit: NASA TV

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