ISS – Cupola – Open for Business


Video: You Tube – NASA TV

You Tube video of the dedication of the Cupola on the International Space Station. The Cupola has seven windows. Six in a hexagon shape and the seventh in the center.

There were eleven crew members on the ISS during the STS-130 mission, which installed the Tranquility module (Node 3) and completed the American portion of the Space Station. Five from the current ISS staff and six from the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Endeavour undocked from the Space Station last evening at 5:45 PM Phoenix time (7:54 PM EST). Landings are possible at Kennedy Space Center at 8:16 PM and 9:51 PM Phoenix time on Sunday (10:16 PM. and 11:51 PM EST), or 11:20 PM Saturday night Phoenix time (1:20 AM EST Sunday) and 12:55 AM Phoenix time Monday (2:55 AM EST Monday) at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

ISS – The Window on the World

For your great enjoyment, images from the third EVA and the installation of the Cupola on the Tranquility Node 3.

Depressurizing Airlock With Astronauts
Image Credit: NASA TV
Depressurizing Airlock With Astronauts
Tranquility and Cupola
Image Credit: NASA TV
Tranquility and Cupola
EVA 3 Handrail Installation
Image Credit: NASA TV
EVA 3 Handrail Installation
Opening Window 7 - First Light
Image Credit: NASA TV
Opening Window 7 – First Light
Closing Window 7
Image Credit: NASA TV
Closing Window 7
Installing Handrails on the Night Side
Image Credit: NASA TV
Installing Handrails on the Night Side
Cupola on the Night Side
Image Credit: NASA TV
Cupola on the Night Side
Opening Window 2 - Last Window to be Tested
Image Credit: NASA TV
Opening Window 2 – Last Window to be Tested

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At 11:30 PM Phoenix time (1:30 AM EST) the astronauts are 4 hours into their EVA and have completed the installation of the Cupola on the Tranquility Node 3. All of the windows on the Cupola have been tested.

The astronauts are currently routing wiring and cables for Tranquility.

And finally, all the windows open at the same time. We are looking down at the Sahara Desert.

You can see where each of the ISS modules are located in this exploded view. Tranquility and the Cupola are in blue.

Routing cables for Tranquility
Image Credit: NASA TV
Routing cables for Tranquility
Open Cupola - Sahara Desert
Image Credit: NASA TV
Open Cupola – Sahara Desert

Endeavour – Docking with the International Space Station

Mission Control
Image Credit: NASA TV
Mission Control for Shuttle Docking
Docking Adapter
Image Credit: NASA TV
Space Shuttle Docking Adapter
Mission Control
Image Credit: NASA TV
View of Endeavour from ISS

At 6:00 PM Phoenix time (8:00 PM EST), the Space Shuttle is approximately 37 nautical miles from the International Space Station.

Endeavour is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station at 10:06 PM Phoenix time on Tuesday, 9 February (12:06 AM EST Wednesday) over the northern coast of Spain.

Endeavor continues to close on the ISS. At 6:30 PM, Endeavor will execute a one second burn of its Reaction Control System (RCS) to adjust its approach velocity by 1/4 of a foot per second.

Mission Control
Image Credit: NASA TV
Aft Deck of Shuttle

Kay Hire preparing for docking. Aft deck of the Space Shuttle.

At 6:50 PM, the Shuttle is 40 minutes away from its terminal initiation approach burn, at which time it will be about 50,000 feet away from the ISS. This burn will slow the approach by about 5 miles per hour.

The shuttle is currently passing over the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean
Image Credit: NASA TV
Over the Mediterranean
Closing
Image Credit: NASA TV
Shuttle Closing on ISS
Shuttle from ISS
Image Credit: NASA TV
Shuttle From ISS
Closer ISS
Image Credit: NASA TV
ISS from the Shuttle: Closer
ISS Docking Port
Image Credit: NASA TV
ISS Docking Port: 100 Feet
Flying Shuttle
Image Credit: NASA TV
Flying Shuttle to the ISS Docking Port

At 10:00 AM Phoenix time, Endeavour is 35 feet from the ISS, and closing at 0.08 feet per second. Six minutes form docking.

The Shuttle has initiated final approach.

Closing at 0.1 feet per second.

Three minutes. Distance is 17 feet away from the ISS.

“14 feet at point one”.

Shuttle has docked at 10:06 PM Phoenix time.

I3 Feet
Image Credit: NASA TV
Three Feet From Docking Port
Soft Dock Confirmed
Image Credit: NASA TV
Soft Dock Confirmed
Shuttle from ISS View Port
Image Credit: NASA TV
Shuttle from ISS View Port

Right now, mission control is waiting for the final vibrations between Endeavour and the International Space Station to completely die down. When this happens, the docking ring will be drawn back in and the final latches will be closed.

Subsequently, a series of leak checks will be performed between the two spacecraft.

The hatch between Endeavour and the ISS will be opened in about two hours.

At 10:25 PM Phoenix time (12:25 AM EST), we wish you all a good night, and best wishes to the crews for a successful mission.

Endeavour – STS-130 – Launch Attempt 8 February 2010

Endeavour on the Pad
Image Credit: NASA TV

Now that the Saints have won the Super Bowl, we can get back to the important events that affect the real world.

At the moment we are in a built in hold at T-minus 3 Hours. Weather is looking very good. The Air Force 45th Weather Office is optimistic.

At 9:57 PM Phoenix time (11:57 PM EST) we have about 25 minutes left in this built in hold.

The current satellite weather map looks very favorable. There is only a thin band of clouds approaching Florida and the Cape that may affect the launch.

Weather is currently at 60% for a launch.

At 10:00 PM Phoenix time, there are no technical issues being worked prior to launch at 2:14 AM Phoenix time. Weather is expected to be favorable for launch on time. There are about 20 minutes remaining in this hold.

We will resume live blog about 30 minutes prior to launch.

Weather
Image Credit: NASA TV
Suiting up
Image Credit: NASA TV

Suiting up astronauts for STS-130.

At 1:55 AM Phoenix time we are at T-minus 9 minutes and holding. This is the standard hold, and are a few minutes from resuming the count. There are no issues at the present time and the range is clear. Launch in 15 minutes.

At 2:00 AM (4:00 EST) launch director is checking all systems prior to resuming the count. All systems are reporting GO. Weather is go. Endeavour is clear for launch.

L-11 minutes. Two minutes from resuming the count.

The count has resumed at t-9 minutes. There are no issues. Weather is good.

60 seconds and counting.

Launch.

Main Engine Ignition
Image Credit: NASA TV
Main Engine Ignition
Lift Off
Image Credit: NASA TV
Lift Off
15 Seconds
Image Credit: NASA TV
15 Seconds into Flight
SRB Burnout
Image Credit: NASA TV
SRB Burnout
Booster Separation
Image Credit: NASA TV
Booster Separation
Main Engine Cut Off
Image Credit: NASA TV
Main Engine Cut Off
Chasing ISS
Image Credit: NASA TV
Endeavour Chasing ISS

One Hour after launch, Endeavor is in a stable orbit and chasing the International Space Station.

Endeavour is the last night launch. For 2010, that is one successful launch, with four to go until the Space Shuttle is retired.

Tranquility and the Cupola

Tranquility Node
Image Credit: NASA

The major mission for Endeavour (STS-130) is to deliver the Tranquility module (Node 3) to the International Space Station.

Tranquility will connect to the Unity module (Node 1). The connection point is on the Earth-facing side, and will provide an additional docking point for space shuttles and other crew vehicles visiting the station.

“It gives us a much needed addition to the house, so to speak,” said Bob Dempsey, lead space station flight director for the mission.

See this image for an exploded view of the ISS and the location of the various modules including Tranquility and the Cupola.

NASA notes that:

At 15 feet wide and 23 feet long, the Tranquility node will provide a centralized home for the station’s environmental control equipment – one of the systems that remove carbon dioxide from the station’s air, one of the station’s bathrooms and the equipment that converts urine into drinkable water, all of which is currently taking up space in the Destiny laboratory. And there’s enough room left over to house the station’s new treadmill and its microgravity equivalent of a weight machine, moving it out of the Unity node where it’s in the way whenever spacewalk preparations are going on inside the adjacent Quest airlock.

The Cupola is the real star of the show. It will be to provide a true view of robotics operations on the station’s exterior – especially when the next module, the Russian Rassvet, is added during STS-132.

The view of the Cupola at the left is from the clean room in the Alenia Spazio facility in Turin, Italy, where it was manufactured for the European Space Agency. Tranquility and the Cupola were shipped to the Kennedy Space Center aboard an Airbus “Beluga” aircraft in May 2009.

The view from the Cupola will include the Earth and the Japanese and Russian sections of the ISS.

The Cupola
Image Credit: NASA

Endeavour – STS-130 – Launch Attempt 7 February 2010

Endeavour
Image Credit: NASA

Launch coverage of Endeavour (STS-130) is on NASA TV

At 2:13 AM Phoenix time, we are at a built-in hold at T-minus 9 minutes, and we are within 30 minutes of launch, if the weather cooperates.

The weather is red for launch. The cloud ceiling is the culprit.

At 2:24 AM, about six minutes remain in the built in hold. The cloud thickness is in excess of 500 feet. The range is red due to weather.

At 2:27 AM, all systems have reported they are go for launch with the exception of weather.

Cloud base is 3,800 feet. The weather is too dynamic. And we now have scrubbed the launch for 24 hours.

We will see everybody tomorrow.

Endeavour STS-130 Launch Watch

Mission Patch
Image Credit: NASA

Countdown coverage of the launch of Endeavour (STS-130) on NASA TV and NASA’s Launch Blog begins at 9:30 PM Phoenix time (11:30 PM EST) tonight, 6 February. Launch is scheduled for Sunday at 2:39 AM Phoenix time Sunday morning (4:39 AM EST).

Weather is 80 percent Go for Launch, primary concern is high winds at Pad-A.

Comments by Flight Director Kwatsi Alibaruho can be found on NASASpaceFlight.com.

In the meantime, the International Space Station received the Progress M-04M resupply vessel and will unload some 2,600 kg of supplies.

Left is Endeavor on the launch pad. Weather is beginning to be an issue. A thick cloud level is at 6,000 feet and this will be a problem for launch.

Currently we are at t-minus 3 hours and holding.

All three trans Atlantic abort sites have good weather and are not a problem.

The Shuttle crew is preparing to suit up and begin boarding Endeavour.

Endeavour on the Pad
Image Credit: NASA TV
Tranquility and Cupola Loading
Image Credit: NASA TV

Earlier this week, Tranquility Node 3 and the Cupola were loaded into the Shuttle payload bay.

The problems with the ammonia cooling tubing have been resolved thanks to the two tiger teams that worked the problem

Weather has now pulled the chance of launch down to 60%. The main concern is no longer the high winds. The problem is the cloud cover.

The astronauts are suiting up in preparation for boarding the Shuttle.

We are 20 minutes from coming out of the built in hold at T-minus 3 hours.

Coverage will resume here 30 minutes before launch.

Suiting Up
Image Credit:NASA TV