* Windowed dome fixed onto space station
* New module houses gym and a toilet
* Renovations will improve life, says NASA
ASTRONAUTS onboard the International Space Station now have a spectacular view of Earth and extra living space thanks to bit of renovation rescue from NASA.
NASA said that astronatuts sent up on the shuttle Endeavour fixed a windowed dome on the space station's Tranquility module during two spacewalks today.
"The International Space Station's new viewport is facing the Earth now, ready to provide a panoramic view of the planet below and approaching cargo ships," it said.
The space agency said that shutters on the cupola's seven windows would be opened tomorrow.
The windows are expected to provide a breathtaking view of space, Earth and visiting spacecraft, while the 360-degree viewing spectrum provides a vital access point for monitoring spacewalks and docking operations.
NASA said that the improvements to the Tranquility module, which houses life support equipment, exercise gear and a toilet, would radically improve life on the orbiting space centre.
"The cupola is going to change the quality of life for astronauts who live on station because it's going to give them a window on the world," NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said.
"Just having the opportunity to float into something like the cupola and reinvigorate yourself is going to make an incredible difference to their quality of life."
With the new room in place, the space station is now about 90 per cent complete. Endeavour is due to end its mission on February 21.
The mission, one of five remaining for NASA's three shuttles before the program ends later this year after a 29-year run, comes as the US space agency re-evaluates its future after President Barack Obama effectively abandoned the US plan to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020.
Source : heraldsun.com
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