February 19, 2010
From the White House, President Obama speaks with the STS-130 and Expedition 22 crew members aboard the International Space Station; the cupola observation deck on the Tranquility node delivered to the ISS by the shuttle Endeavour crew provides the best view from space of Earth humans have ever had; and, a fun, new and informative NASA climate change website just for kids are among "This Week's" stories.
Endeavour’s 13-day mission will deliver and assemble the last U.S.-built modules onto the International Space Station, giving the laboratory a room with quite a view. The mission kicks off the final year of shuttle flights, with five missions planned through September. Node 3, known as Tranquility, will provide additional room for crew members and many of the space station’s life support and environmental control systems. Attached to the node is a cupola, which is a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that will provide a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting spacecraft.
Tucked away inside Tranquility and Endeavour’s middeck will be a ton of equipment, supplies and experiments for the space station. Included are a new distillation assembly and fluid control pump assembly for the urine processing assembly, an external filter assembly for the water processing assembly, a new bed for the carbon dioxide removal assembly, laptop computers, crew provisions, health care supplies, spacewalk tools and others.
Endeavour, commanded by spaceflight veteran George Zamka, is scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center at 4:39 a.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 7, and arrive at the orbiting complex in the early morning hours Tuesday, Feb. 9.
While docked to the station, Endeavour’s crew will conduct three spacewalks and extensive robotic operations to install Tranquility and then relocate its cupola.
Zamka, 47, a U.S. Marine Corps colonel, served as pilot on STS-120 in 2007. He will be joined on the mission by pilot Terry Virts, 41, a U.S. Air Force colonel, who will be making his first trip to space. Mission specialists are Kathryn Hire, a U.S. Navy Reserve captain who flew on STS-90 in 1998; Stephen Robinson who flew on STS-85 in 1997, STS-95 in 1988 and STS-114 in 2005; Nicholas Patrick who flew on STS-116 in 2006; and Robert Behnken, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, who flew on STS-123 in 2008. Robinson, Patrick and Behnken all have doctorates in mechanical engineering.
Source: NASA STS-130 Press Kit