Maybe essentially the most well-known a part of the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) is the Cupola, a seven-window observatory module providing panoramic views of Earth and house.
Many ISS astronauts wish to spend their free time there, gazing dreamily out of the home windows whereas capturing images showcasing the great thing about our planet.
However the Cupola is way more than only a place for astronauts to sit back and chill out throughout their downtime. It’s additionally the proper spot for Earth commentary research, and capabilities as a workstation for working the power’s robotic arm for spacewalks and spacecraft maneuvers.
The Cupola is three meters throughout and 1.5 meters excessive and weighs about 1.eight tons. It was constructed by the European Area Company (ESA) and put in throughout a Area Shuttle Endeavour mission in 2010, a decade after the ISS went into operation.
This week present ISS inhabitant Matthias Maurer tweeted a shot from the Cupola that hints on the astonishing views that guests to the space-based facility are capable of get pleasure from.
There's all the time one thing to see from the Cupola 🔎🌍 An unbelievable view of the Earth, robotic actions of the @csa_asc #Canadarm2, arriving spacecraft & spacewalks. For the time being, you may also see a part of the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft & #Prichal behind me 🛰️#CosmicKiss pic.twitter.com/RbydqGuEKO
— Matthias Maurer (@astro_matthias) December 15, 2021
Take word, although — the home windows aren’t as giant because the picture seems to counsel, with the digicam’s wide-angle lens distorting the picture considerably. The video beneath provides a glance contained in the Cupola and offers a greater thought of the true dimension of not solely the home windows, however of the module itself.
A bit recognized function of the Cupola is its exterior shutter system that assist to guard the home windows from tiny meteoroids and orbital particles that might come its method. Closed when the module isn’t in use, the shutters additionally forestall photo voltaic radiation from heating up the Cupola and cease inner warmth from escaping, in keeping with ESA. You possibly can see the shutters in motion within the video beneath.
ESA says the Cupola offers a “shirtsleeve setting” for as much as two astronauts working within the module. “Its inner format is dominated by higher and decrease handrails across the cabin, supporting many of the gear, and by ‘close-out’ panels, which cowl the harness and cooling water strains.”
To discover the Cupola for your self, try Google Earth’s splendidly immersive function that permits you to view the module from each angle, and in nice element, too.
For extra about day-to-day life on the Worldwide Area Station, check out these movies made by visiting astronauts through the years.