In the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Secondino Brondolo, head of the Space Infrastructure, Thales Alenia Space Italy, addresses the invited guests at a ceremony transferring the ownership of node 3 for the International Space Station from the European Space Agency, or ESA, to NASA. Seated, from left, are Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center director; Michael Suffredini, program manager, International Space Station, NASA; William Dowdell, deputy for Operations, International Space Station and Spacecraft Processing, Kennedy; and Bernardo Patti, head of International Space Station, Program Department, ESA.
Node 3 is named "Tranquility" after the Sea of Tranquility, the lunar landing site of Apollo 11. The payload for the STS-130 mission, Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the International Space Station's life support systems. The module was built for ESA by Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy. Attached to one end of Tranquility is a cupola, a unique work station 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. Just under 10 feet in diameter, the module will accommodate two crew members and portable workstations that can control station and robotic activities. 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. Space shuttle Endeavour's STS-130 mission is targeted to launch Feb. 4, 2010. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett