View from Space

The ISS has a unique observing tower in the shape of a dome, called the Cupola. It is located on the mostly ground-facing side of the Tranquility module.The Cupola offers a panoramic view through its seven windows and a wonderful sight of the earth from an altitude of approx. 400 km.

The module’s main tasks include controlling the station’s robotic arm, communicating with astronauts during an egress, and observing Earth and space. For this purpose, various command and control workstations can be installed in the Cupola. However, a no less important task of the Cupola will be its use as a relaxation place for the astronauts.The windows can be shielded with special shutters to protect them from micrometeorites and space debris.

In front of the black background of space, NASA astronaut Ron Garan (Exped. 28) can be seen in the window of the Cupola (image 11.9.2011, NASA)