Windows installation is not, as anyone who has spent too much time watching the many double glazing adverts on daytime TV can attest, usually something that can be described as ‘awe inspiring’.
But when the windows in question are 220 miles above the South Pacific Ocean, and the largest ever installed on a space station, it is perhaps the one instance where it can suitably be described as “absolutely incredible”.
The opening of the shutters to a brand spanking new observation deck marked a successful conclusion to a construction mission, as the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour prepared to leave the International Space Station.
Celebrating in true astronaut style, Mission Control beamed up Jimmy Buffet’s hit ‘Window on the World’ upon completion.
The seven windows which have been installed, including the largest ever flown in space at 31”, offer panoramic views of Earth at the sum of $27m – thoroughly putting my auntie’s conservatory to shame.
“As expected, the view through window seven is absolutely spectacular,” claimed Jeffrey Williams, commander of the space station.
“When we have the others open it will give us a view of the entire globe. Absolutely incredible.”
The dome itself is five feet tall and ten feet in diameter, giving a 360 degree view of the planet and the space station, and is the jewel in the crown of the $380m addition named Tranquillity.
It is doubted that the next trip to the space station, pencilled in for April 5th, will be as widely anticipated with speculation abound that Mission Control will be beaming George Formby’s ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ instead.