There’s a panoramic window on the International Space Station named after the observation decks that old-time train cabooses had.
The Cupola, as it’s known, includes six side windows and a big one in the center. An astronaut floating nearby can see 1,000 km of Earth below him or her. It’s the ultimate spot to keep an eye on a hurricane, or provide guidance to a crewmate wrestling the robotic Canadarm2 towards an incoming spacecraft.
Hard to believe it’s been three years since the astronauts on STS-130 installed it in February 2010. Below, check out the best of astronaut photography of or from the Cupola since that time.
From the outside, the cupola looks like a flying saucer. That’s Douglas Wheelock (Expedition 25) inside the window. Credit: NASA
The Cupola provides a portal to 215 million years in the past: The Manicouagan impact crater in northern Québec shows up nearly in the center of the main Cupola window. Credit: NASA
he STS-131 crew somehow organizes themselves on the small window in microgravity. Pictured are Commander Alan Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Naoko Yamazaki, Clayton Anderson and Stephanie Wilson. Credit: NASA
An Expedition 27 crewmember captured this cyclone over the north Pacific. Told you it’s a good view. Credit: NASA
The end effector — or grappler — at the end of the Space Station’s Canadarm 2 robotic arm is visible out the main window of the Cupola, with a view of our beautiful blue planet below. Credit: NASA.
STS-130′s Nicholas Patrick casually hanging out beneath the cupola after helping install it. Credit: NASA