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: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why trapping somebody in space only takes a breeze

Mar 19, 2014

Imagine that you were in the middle of a module on the International Space Station. Floating in mid-air, far from handholds or any way to propel yourself. Is there any way to get out of that situation?

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 ...

'Spooky action at a distance' aboard the ISS

Apr 09, 2013

(Phys.org) —Albert Einstein famously described quantum entanglement as "spooky action at distance"; however, up until now experiments that examine this peculiar aspect of physics have been limited to relatively ...

Recommended for you

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

2 hours ago

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Let's put a sailboat on Titan

7 hours ago

The large moons orbiting the gas giants in our solar system have been getting increasing attention in recent years. Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is the only natural satellite known to house a thick atmosphere. ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Meteorites yield clues to Martian early atmosphere

(Phys.org) —Geologists who analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars unlocked secrets of the Martian atmosphere hidden in the chemical signatures of these ancient rocks. Their study, published ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Researchers see hospitalization records as additional tool

Comparing hospitalization records with data reported to local boards of health presents a more accurate way to monitor how well communities track disease outbreaks, according to a paper published April 16 in the journal PLOS ON ...

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.