New picture window for the space station

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The International Space Station will get a new picture window early next year. Called the "Cupola," the new observation platform will be a control point for the space station's robotic arm. It will also serve as the ultimate chill-out room. From NASA:
"Crews tell us that Earth gazing is important to them," says Julie Robinson, the ISS Program Scientist at NASA's Johnson Space Center. "The astronauts work hard up there and are away from their families for a long time. Observing the Earth and the stars helps relax and inspire them."

Until now, space station astronauts have been confined to looking out small portholes or at best the 20-inch window in the US Destiny Laboratory. The Cupola will dramatically expand their view.

"The Cupola's 80-cm diameter circular top window is the largest window ever built for space," says Robinson. "Rather than peering through a little porthole, the Cupola will allow a stunning look at the cosmos and unprecedented panoramic views of Earth. Astronauts will share these views with the world through photographs taken through the windows and posted online."
Space Station Room With a View


  1. That’s the thing I didn’t believe in Apollo 13, where Lovell was being urged to get a look at the moon’s surface, and he says “I’ve seen it.”

  2. speaking of, is there a body of literature describing pharmaceutical experience in space and micro-gravity yet?

  3. I have been following the progress of this cupola for years and cannot wait to finally see it in place. The views are going to be amazing!! I hope we can get a full time webcam streaming from there 24/7.

  4. so, what motion would be imparted to the station if the window-covers were rippled open and closed in following sequence?

  5. TIE fighter, eh? Well, it does have solar panels. I wonder if it howls as it flies by you in space.

    It’s orbiting over your part of the planet right now. Go out on your porch and listen for the howl.


  6. sounds like the astronauts who do a spacewalk after the installation will get the first “dual moon” viewpoint while facing the station.

    do they carry a can of those Windex wipes on the mission?

  7. I can’t wait to see this thing open, it’s going to feel like such a new step in space for us.

    Best thing ever. Just put a couch there, let the cabin fill with the multicoloured glow of indicator lamps, and have a joint.

    I think I would like to die like that, actually.

  8. is there a body of literature describing pharmaceutical experience in space and micro-gravity yet?

    Don’t Panic.

  9. Also the perfect place for microgravity sex.

    As long as the ISS is not near any spy satellites.

    Or over Palomar.

  10. That looks exactly like something that showed up on the “Moonlite Mile” anime… ¿Isn’t it a caption from the show?

  11. NOw all they need is artificial gravity and to move the kitchen table in there and have some great dinners together.

  12. It’s about time the ISS astronauts actually had a decent-sized window. I feel sorry for those poor guys, trapped inside a tin can for six months at a time. The cupola will really help.

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