Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kudos for Kibo

The space shuttle Discovery is home after a safe landing in Florida today. Congratulations to all involved. The big accomplishment on this mission (besides fixing the space toilet!) was delivering the main module of the Japanese Kibo laboratory to the International Space Station. This is Japan's big contribution to the station, and we do mean "big". Larger than the other modules, it was delivered empty to save weight. Some of the experiment racks were prepositioned on ISS by previous missions. Others will be delivered later. The combination of being the largest module and being delivered empty produced a unique opportunity for the astronauts:

I just love this video. All the astronauts work really hard when they are in space. I'm glad to see that nobody gave them a hard time about taking five minutes to enjoy the novelty of the new, empty laboratory. Looks like fun, doesn't it?

I also applaud the Japanese for making such a major investment in ISS. They are planning to do lots of research using Kibo. I wish them and the other partners much success and look forward to their future accomplishments.

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