In the Operations and Checkout Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, members of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 crew put on their launch-and-entry suits before heading to the Astrovan for the ride to Launch Pad 39A. The crew is participating in a dress rehearsal for their upcoming launch, known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. Making his first spaceflight on STS-130 is Pilot Terry Virts, seen here.
The primary payload for the STS-130 mission is the International Space Station's Tranquility node, a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the station's life support systems. Attached to one end of Tranquility is a cupola, a unique work area with six windows on its sides and one on top. The cupola resembles a circular bay window and will provide a vastly improved view of the station's exterior. The multi-directional view will allow the crew to monitor spacewalks and docking operations, as well as provide a spectacular view of Earth and other celestial objects. The module was built in Turin, Italy, by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency. Launch of STS-130 is targeted for Feb. 7. For information on the STS-130 mission and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts130/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett