The International Space Station just got roomier. Astronauts opened the orbiting laboratory's brand-new room late Friday and quickly got to work moving things in.
The new Node 3 module, named Tranquility in honor of NASA's Apollo 11 moon base, was opened with little fanfare at 9:17 p.m. EST (0217 Saturday GMT) by all 11 astronauts on the linked space station and shuttle Endeavour.
"Houston, Node 3 is open," Endeavour pilot Terry Virts radioed to Mission Control. "It looks really nice in there and we're getting back to work."
The new module and its seven-window observation deck launched to the station on Monday aboard the shuttle Endeavour, which arrived at the orbiting laboratory two days later, SPACE.com informs.
Flight director Bob Dempsey said early Saturday that engineers are trying to figure what to do next. The cover is needed to protect the seals and docking mechanisms on Tranquility from the cold.
This docking port will be exposed when the domed lookout is moved to its permanent location. That move may be put on hold, for a while.
The astronauts aboard the shuttle-station complex opened the door to Tranquility late Friday, The Associated Press reports.