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Astronauts get a first look of the ISS's newest room

A view of the Tranquility node in the payload bay of space shuttle Endeavour during the STS-130 crew’s first full day in space. A NASA TV Photo.

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA (AP): Astronauts swung open the door to the International Space Station's newest room Friday night, using flashlights to illuminate the shadowy chamber and wearing goggles and masks to keep themselves safe from any floating debris.

The two skippers were the first to enter Tranquility, Europe's USD 380 million contribution.

Station commander Jeffrey Williams floated in first, followed closely by shuttle Endeavour's George Zamka and then several other members of the combined crews. Williams looked around the empty, virtually powerless 7-metre-long chamber for two minutes as colleagues documented the event with cameras, then came back out to report to Mission Control.

"The module is beautiful," he radioed, "and the atmosphere is very clean."

As a precaution, the astronauts kept on their goggles and masks as they began setting up temporary ventilation ducts between Tranquility and the rest of the orbiting complex.

Mission Control told them to keep the crowd to a minimum until air was circulating.

Later that night, the hatch between Tranquility and its USD 27 million observation deck was to briefly be opened. The domed lookout has seven windows, one of them the biggest ever flown in space.

The astronauts hooked up Tranquility early Friday during the first spacewalk of shuttle Endeavour's visit.


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