In the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, payload technicians dressed in clean room attire, known as bunny suits, secure the hatch on the International Space Station's Node 3, named Tranquility.
Hatch closure follows the completion of preparations for the node's transport to the pad and is a significant milestone in launch processing activities. The primary payload for the STS-130 mission, Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space 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. Space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission is targeted for launch in early February 2010. For information on the STS-130 mission and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts130/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller