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Space station cupola offers panoramic view

Cape Canaveral -- U.S. astronauts aboard the International Space Station say they're putting the finishing touches to a module that offers a 360-degree view of space.

"We will have the most spectacular view of the Earth anyone's ever had from the inside of the station," astronaut Steve Robinson said of the module Tranquility.
The $400 million Tranquility and its Italian-built cupola -- a domed-shaped annex with seven windows -- is the last major U.S. addition to the station, which is now 98 percent complete.

Tranquility, brought to the station this week aboard the shuttle Endeavour, represents the tail end of 11 years and $50 billion of U.S. construction work on the space station. The module will house the observation deck, an exercise room and a central place for life-support systems.

Four missions into space remain before the shuttle fleet is retired. Those missions are to be devoted to outfitting the station, Florida Today reported Friday.

Copyright 2010 United Press International.

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