ESA title
Cupola, a room with a view… on space
Science & Exploration


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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / International Space Station

Observation module

Cupola provides an observation and work area for the International Space Station crew that gives visibility to support the control of the Station's robotic arms and a beautiful view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting vehicles.

Cupola is where ESA's Nightpod camera aid was installed to help astronauts take sharper pictures at night.

Height 1500 mm
Diameter 2955 mm
Including Micrometeoroid and orbital Debris Protection System with shutters closed
Including Flight Releasable Grapple Fixture
Mass budget
Launch Mass 1805 kg
On-orbit mass 1880 kg

Communications and data infrastructure  
Via Audio Terminal Unit that is connected to Node 3 and the rest of the station
1553B buses via Utility Outlet Panel
Dedicated discrete lines for Robotic Work Station

Environmental control  
Environmental Control and Life Support air from Node Inter Module Ventilation
With manual temperature adjustment

Electrical power  
Direct from the Node 120 V interface Window heaters
Via the Utility Outlet Panel, 120 V interface Robotic Workstation
Portable Computer System
Portable light system

Main construction material  
Dome Forged Al 2219-T851
Skirt Al 2219-T851
Thermal control Goldised Kapton Multi-Layer Insulation blanket
Windows Fused Silica and borosilicate glass
Protective shutters Al-6061-T6, AL 7075-T7352 and Kevlar/Nextel sheets

Ownership and development authority  
The Cupola is provided by ESA to NASA in exchange for the transport of 5 external payloads
Prime contractor
Alenia Spazio (Turin, Italy), leading a consortium of European sub-contractors

On launch
Launched inside the Orbiter cargo bay, mounted on a Spacelab pallet via a Manual Berthing Mechanism
Launch vehicle Space Shuttle (Flight 20A/STS-130)
Launch site Kennedy Space Center
Launch date 8 February 2010
On orbit
Transferred from Orbiter cargo bay to the Node location by the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System
and Station Remote Manipulator System interfacing with the Cupola
Initially berthed to Node 1 Port-port, later relocated to Node 3 Forward-port.
(Node 3 Aft-port for contingency)

Outfitting on-orbit  
Permanently 1 Audio Terminal Unit and 2 Utility Outlet Panels
Periodically Robotic Work Station
Portable Computer System
Portable light system
Foot restraint device to support crew operations

Flight hardware  
Primary Forged/Machined Aluminium dome welded to skirt
Window Assy, (6 side and 1 top), glass panes and window heaters and thermistors.
Passive Common Berthing Mechanism bolted to the skirt.
Micro-meteoroid and orbital Debris Protection
System Aluminum bumper on the cylindrical portion
2 Flight Releasable Grapple Fixture interfaceplates
Secondary Internal closure panels equipment & harness support brackets
Crew System Kit; seat tracks, handrails, handholds, tethers.
Manually operated shutters for each window (also serves as MDPS).
2 Window Change Out Covers to support on orbit window assy replacement.
Thermal Control System; water supplied from Node High Temperature loop.
Passive thermal control utilizes Multi-Layer Insulation and thermo optical properties.
Environmental Control and Life Support air from Node Inter Module Ventilation.
MIL-1553 Bus, Discrete I/O, Audio, Video

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