The installation of two European modules for the International Space Station (ISS), which were launched on 8 February by the Space Shuttle Endeavour, will mark the end of Europe's ISS development programme.
Node-3 will provide more space for equipment and the astronauts. It will be the heart of the Station's life support, removing carbon dioxide, generating oxygen and recycling water. It will also house an additional toilet and exercise equipment for the crew of up to six.
The Cupola observation module, the largest and most complex window assembly ever launched into space, will be used by the crew to operate the Station’s robot arm, monitor dockings of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and other incoming craft, help out during spacewalks and make scientific observations. It also has an important function as a panoramic relaxation area: one of the most enjoyable experiences aboard the Station is looking down at Earth or up at the stars.
Both the Node-3 and Cupola modules were built by European industry led by prime contractor Thales Alenia Space Italy.