Our biggest spaceship now has an Observation Deck!

This is just so cool.

STS-130: Endeavour

“Mike, if you’re CapCommin’ and you’re lookin’ for folks and you can’t find ’em…they’re probably in here.”

That was a radio call from the STS-130 crew to Mission Control in Houston from early on Wednesday, after all seven windows in the ISS Cupola were opened for the very first time. I have been watching NASA TV and trawling their multimedia galleries all the time I’ve been at my desk today…the views out the Cupola – of Earth, the Moon, the Station, and the Shuttle – are simply spectacular. Here is a small selection of the currently available images, available here. (I can’t wait till they release some of the photos looking out at the Shuttle cargo bay and the Soyuz spacecraft on the ISS exterior. Future robot arm work is also going to look amazing.)

S130-E-007858 (14 Feb. 2010) --- NASA astronaut Robert Behnken, STS-130 mission specialist, participates in the mission

ISS022-E-067184 (17 Feb. 2010) --- NASA astronauts Robert Behnken (left) and Nicholas Patrick, both STS-130 mission specialists, participate in the mission

ISS022-E-066963 (17 Feb. 2010) --- This image is among the first taken through a first of its kind "bay window" on the International Space Station, the seven-windowed Cupola. The image shows the coast of Algeria featuring (in the Cupola's round window) an area between the cities of Dellys and Algiers. The image was recorded with a digital still camera using a 28mm lens setting. The Cupola, which a week and half ago was brought up to the orbital outpost by the STS-130 crew on the space shuttle Endeavour, will house controls for the station robotics and will be a location where crew members can operate the robotic arms and monitor other exterior activities.

ISS022-E-066964 (17 Feb. 2010) --- NASA astronauts Terry Virts (left), STS-130 pilot; and Jeffrey Williams, Expedition 22 commander, pose for a photo near the windows in the newly-installed Cupola of the International Space Station while space shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station.

ISS022-E-066976 (17 Feb. 2010) --- NASA astronauts Terry Virts (left), STS-130 pilot; and Stephen Robinson, mission specialist, pose for a photo near the windows in the newly-installed Cupola of the International Space Station while space shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station.

Go Endeavour!

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