Makeshift Millennium Falcon?
It might look like NASA is trying to build its own Millennium Falcon. But this new "cockpit," is actually more like a front porch for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
Space shuttle pilot Terry Virtis (left) and space station commander Jeffrey Williams are seen above in front of the cupola, which is part of a new module attached to the space station during the space shuttle Endeavour's current mission. The cupola's seven windows were fully opened for the first time Wednesday morning, offering the astronauts stunning views of the Sahara (or is that Tatooine?).
The new room with a view will give orbiting observers panoramic views of Earth, spacewalking astronauts, approaching spacecraft, and cosmic bodies.
The cupola will also be a robotic control station for the space station: Crew inside will be able to maneuver robotic arms to conduct activities outside the station remotely or to assist spacewalking astronauts.
First Photos: Space Station's Observation Deck Unveiled
The International Space Station's new "bay window on the world" offers astronauts panoramic views of Earth and will serve as a robotic control center.