Completion of the Observation Module "Cupola" for the International Space Station

Aug 30, 2004
 cupola observation module

Development phase completion of the European-built observation module, or "cupola", for the International Space Station will be marked by a ceremony at the Alenia Spazio facility in Turin, Italy on Monday 6 September. The cupola, currently scheduled for launch in January 2009, is an observation and control tower for the ISS, with windows that will provide a panoramic view for observing and guiding operations on the outside of the station. The pressurised module will accommodate command and control workstations and other hardware, enabling crewmembers to control the station’s robotic arm - for attaching and assembling various station elements - and to communicate with other crewmembers in other parts of the station or outside during spacewalk activities. The cupola will also be used for observational applications in the areas of Earth observation and space science.

The cupola project is the outcome of a bilateral barter agreement between the European Space Agency and NASA, under which ESA is providing the cupola for the ISS in exchange for Shuttle transportation of European equipment and experiments to the station. The completion of the cupola marks the end of the development phase of the project, which began with the signing of the cupola contract between ESA and Alenia Spazio on 8 February 1999. Under the contract, Alenia Spazio acted as prime contractor for production, responsible for coordinating six other firms: CASA (Spain), APCO (Switzerland), SAAB Ericsson and Lindholmen Development (Sweden), EADS Space Transportation (Germany) and Verhaert (Belgium).

The 1.8-tonne cupola is now ready to be transported to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. There, it will go through a final set of checks before being put into storage for four years, at the end of which it will be prepared for launch.

About Cupola project
Cupola provides a pressurised observation and work area for the Space Station crew giving visibility to support, the control of the space station remote manipulator system and general external viewing of the Earth, celestial objects and visiting vehicles.

cupola  cut


Explore further: NASA's reliance on outsourcing launches causes a dilemma for the space agency

Related Stories

Space Image: Earth observations

Jan 09, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- This unusual image was photographed through the Cupola on the International Space Station by one of the Expedition 30 crew members.

Space Station's big bay window installed

Feb 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The biggest window ever launched to space has been installed in its final position on the Earth-facing port of Node-3. The latches and 16 electrically driven bolts were engaged today at 07:31 ...

Space Station Room With a View

Jun 29, 2009

The crew of the International Space Station (ISS) is about to get a new "eye-pod." The Tranquility node headed for the space station early in 2010 will feature a viewing dome unlike any other window ever flown ...

Recommended for you

Hubble view: Wolf-Rayet stars, intense and short-lived

22 hours ago

This NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Hubble Space Telescope picture shows a galaxy named SBS 1415+437 (also called SDSS CGB 12067.1), located about 45 million light-years from Earth. SBS 1415+437 is a Wolf-Rayet ...

Crash test assesses plane emergency locator transmitters

23 hours ago

The Cessna 172 airplane dangled 82 feet in the air – looking almost like it was coming in for a landing, except for the cables attaching it to a huge gantry at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, ...

NASA image: Curiosity's stars and stripes

23 hours ago

This view of the American flag medallion on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). ...

NASA image: Stellar sparklers that last

Jul 03, 2015

While fireworks only last a short time here on Earth, a bundle of cosmic sparklers in a nearby cluster of stars will be going off for a very long time. NGC 1333 is a star cluster populated with many young ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.