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The Mission




Orbiter: Endeavour
Mission: STS-130
Payload: Tranquility
Launch: Feb. 8, 2010
Time: 4:14 a.m. EST
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: Feb. 21 @ 10:20 p.m. EST
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility

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Endeavour's payload shipped out to launch pad 39A
BY JUSTIN RAY
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: January 18, 2010


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The Tranquility module that'll be a new room with a view for the International Space Station was trucked to space shuttle Endeavour's launch pad overnight, destined for blastoff next month.


The container with Tranquility is lifted into pad 39A's gantry this morning. Credit: NASA-KSC
 
Packed in a special transport canister shaped like the shuttle's 60-foot-long payload bay, Tranquility was moved out of Kennedy Space Center's Space Station Processing Facility last week. After a layover at the rotating building, where the container was turned upright, and then a weather-related hold, the module reached pad 39A before dawn today.

Ground crews went to work hoisting the canister up the gantry to unload Tranquility into the pad's cleanroom for its eventual insertion into the shuttle bay later this week.

The module was built in Italy by Thales Alenia Space as part of the collaboration between the European Space Agency and NASA in the space station program. It was delivered to KSC in May to undergo final testing and preps for flight.

Endeavour's construction mission will bring Tranquility to the station for installation and activation, complex work that'll include three spacewalks.

The module's home is the port-side attachment spot on the Unity connecting node, the original U.S.-built piece of the station launched in 1998.

Tranquility will become a utility room for the outpost, housing large refrigerator-sized racks of equipment such as the oxygen generation and air scrubbing systems, water recycling gear, the treadmill named for comedian Stephen Colbert and the toilet and hygiene compartment. The racks are positioned throughout the station at present.

The module is 23.6 feet in length, 14.5 feet in diameter and weighs 33,325 pounds at launch.

Bill Dowdell, the deputy director for space station operations at KSC, says the module is a highly complicated piece of machinery that is ready for the astronauts to outfit with all of that vital equipment.

"The Italians are very proud of it and rightly so."

Hitching a ride to orbit on the module is a seven-windowed cupola, also built in Europe. It'll become the control room for operating the station's Canadian-made robotic arm, affording panoramic views around the outpost for the astronauts, not to mention serving as a spectacular viewing portal to the cosmos.

Original plans for the station assembly sequence called for the cupola to be launched on an old Spacelab pallet in the shuttle bay. But when NASA reduced the number of available flights, it appeared the cupola could get left on the ground.

Engineers then devised a new strategy to launch the cupola temporarily anchored to the vacant berthing port on the front of Tranquility. They dusted off handling equipment and successfully got the two structures mated together in a delicate operation between American and European technicians.

The astronauts will use the station arm to relocate the cupola to its intended position on the side of Tranquility during the mission. The duo can't be launched in that final configuration due to the tight confines of Endeavour's payload bay.

Also stashed inside Tranquility are bags of supplies -- about 1,000 pounds worth -- that take advantage of available capacity for delivering extra cargo to the station during these final shuttle flights.

Endeavour remains targeted for launch February 7 at 4:39 a.m. EST. Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR'S FRIGID ROLLOUT TO PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR HOISTED FOR ATTACHMENT TO TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CRANE ROTATES THE ORBITER VERTICALLY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR MOVES TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE SHOWS ENDEAVOUR ASCENDING IN VAB PLAY
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE SHOWS THE MOVE TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY

VIDEO: ORBITER READY TO LEAVE HANGAR PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EXTERNAL TANK ATTACHED TO BOOSTERS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR'S MAIN ENGINE INSTALLATION PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS VISIT THEIR SPACECRAFT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW INSPECTS MISSION PAYLOADS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FUEL TANK UNLOADED FROM THE BARGE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: EXTERNAL TANK ARRIVES AT SPACEPORT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FORWARD THRUSTER POD CHECKED OUT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR TOWED OFF RUNWAY FROM STS-127 PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TRANQUILITY HATCH SEALED FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CUPOLA ATTACHED TO TRANQUILITY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: THE SPACE STATION'S NEW CUPOLA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TRANQUILITY UNPACKED IN FLORIDA PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: NEW MODULE ARRIVES FROM EUROPE PLAY | HI-DEF
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