New International Space Station room 'about the size of a small Winnebago'
The Space Shuttle Atlantis has delivered a new room module to the International Space Station. The Russian-built module will double as a research workspace and a docking port.
Atlantis shuttle astronauts and the crew of the International Space Station opened the station's newest room Thursday, a Russian research module that doubles as a spaceship docking port.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Aboard the International Space Station
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The $200 million new room, called the Mini Research Module-1, or Rassvet ("Dawn" in Russian), was delivered by Atlantis and attached to the station's Zarya module on Tuesday. Once it's up and running, the 19.7-foot (6-meter) long Rassvet will be used for storage and scientific research by the station crew. It will also provide another docking port for visiting Russian spacecraft to link up to. [Graphic: Russia's Rassvet space module.]
The crew checked for leaks in the seal between Rassvet and Zarya, and once astronauts determined the modules were linked up correctly, they opened the new lab for the first time on Thursday at 6:52 a.m. EDT (1052 GMT).
"Everything looks normal, everything is great," station commander Oleg Kotov radioed down to Mission Control.
After opening the door, spaceflyers installed an air filter to clean out the air inside. The complete unpacking and set-up of the new lab will take place after Atlantis leaves the station.
The Atlantis astronauts – who are about half-way through the 12-day STS-132 mission – woke up Thursday morning at 1:59 a.m. EDT (0559 GMT) to the song "Welcome to the Working Week" by Elvis Costello, played especially for mission specialist Stephen Bowen.
"I want to thank my family for picking such a great song," Bowen said.