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  • Activating Tranquility
    Posted by Frank Morring, Jr. 1:32 PM on Feb 13, 2010

    International Space Station astronauts are moving into the new Tranquility Node, setting up the pressurized module delivered by the space shuttle Endeavour as their new gym and recreation room

    Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams opened the hatch to the node at 9:17 p.m. EST Friday.


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    NASA TV

    Williams, Endeavour Commander George Zamka and astronaut Steve Robinson donned goggles and masks to protect their eyes and lungs against floating debris inside the node, and began its activation by setting up a temporary air duct to bring in station air.

    Other work on the first day inside Tranquility included hooking up the cables that connect its systems to the station power and data grids, and beginning to install the underpinnings that will isolate a new treadmill from the station structure so its vibrations don't disturb the microgravity environment for experiments.

    The treadmill is named for television comedian Stephen Colbert, who mounted a campaign to have the entire node named for himself.

    Williams, Zamka and Robinson also opened the station's new cupola, which is temporarily installed in its launch position at one end of the cylindrical module. Wearing headlamps, they inspected the darkened facility, which will ride the station's robotic arm to its permanent place on the Earth-facing side of Tranquility Sunday night.

    Inside the Destiny laboratory station crew members continued to operate the waste water recycling system that they hope to move into Tranquility while Endeavour's crew is still on board to help out. The system has been out of commission, and Endeavour delivered new hardware to help get it going again. Managers want to test it thoroughly before moving it, and gather some water samples for the shuttle to return to Earth for analysis.

    The recycling system captures and cleans cabin moisture and waste water, and distills crew urine for reuse. It will greatly ease the logistics burden of supporting the six-member crew after the space shuttle stops flying at the end of this year.

    While the astronauts were busy on the station, the Mission Management Team on Earth cleared Endeavour's delicate thermal protection system for reentry after deciding that a small ceramic insert and a piece of a cracked heat-shield tile won't cause any damage if they fall off during recontact with the atmosphere. Post-launch inspection showed a repair on the tile apparently failed, the the small circular insert - located below one of the left-side flight-deck windows - worked its way part of the way out of its seat and is protruding slightly.

    While their crewmates work inside to activate Tranquility, spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick are scheduled to go outside for the second extravehicular activity (EVA) of the STS-130 mission tonight to continue the job there. They will spend most of their time connecting ammonia pipelines to bring Tranquility into the station cooling system, and removing protective covers so the cupola can be reberthed.

    The cupola's seven windows remain blocked by protective shutters. Once it is in position, the windows will give crew members a 360-degree view of their surroundings when the shutters are open.

    Patrick and Behnken were outside to make early power connections Thursday night when Tranquility was moved from Endeavour to the side of the Unity node at the center of the ISS. Here are a few images of that maneuver, which marked delivery of the final working module to the ISS.


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    NASA TV

    Tags: os99, STS130, Endeavour, ISS, Tranquility, cupola

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