‘Space rarities’ highlight: Cupola
One of the highlight lots of the first ‘Space Rarities’ auction being held this Friday, 12 April, is this full-scale model of Cupola, the European-built module providing panoramic views for astronauts on the International Space Station.
The real Cupola functions as an observation and work area for International Space Station crews, giving visibility to support the control of the Station's robotic arms and a beautiful view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting vehicles.
It features six trapezoidal side windows and a circular top window 80 cm in diameter, making it the largest window ever flown in space. Each window uses advanced technologies to protect the sensitive fused silica glass panes from years of exposure to solar radiation and debris impacts.
The windows are protected by external shutters, which can be opened by the crew inside. Afterwards, the shutters are closed to protect the glass from micrometeoroids and orbital debris, and to prevent solar radiation from heating up Cupola or to avoid losing heat to space.
Each window has three subsections: an inner scratch pane to protect the pressure panes from damage inside Cupola; two 25 mm-thick pressure panes to maintain cabin pressure (the outer pane is a back-up for the inner pane); and a debris pane on the outside to protect the pressure panes from space debris when the shutters are open.
This full-scale metal, Perspex, plastic and wood model was commissioned for display and training purposes and was exhibited in ESA’s Erasmus Centre at ESTEC in the Netherlands. See more details at Artcurial, 7 rond-point des Champs-Elysées, Paris. Download the auction catalogue.
This auction is organised by the Spacebrains foundation and all profits generated by this sale will be used by the foundation to support young European researchers and entrepreneurs with projects in the space field. ESA receives no financial compensation from this auction and subsequent sales.