After seeing the kind of amazing space photography astronauts have been sending back lately, we were eagerly waiting for the crew of the International Space Station to lock down the $27 million domed module. Space station commander Jeffrey Williams led the effort after a pair of astronauts used the station's robotic arm to maneuver the observation deck into place, though it wasn't all smooth sailing.
On Saturday, Commander Williams had to deal with some stuck bolts that were preventing him from covering the docking mechanisms of the Tranquility module — the newest room on the ISS — though he managed to remove the bolts and do what he had to do. Sunday brought similar troubles, unfortunately.
Space station commander Jeffrey Williams was loosening a series of bolts to release the lookout when several jammed late Sunday. With commands from Mission Control, astronauts were able to increase the torque and free the bolts - but then they saw an electrical connector popping out from the dome.
Down in Mission Control, flight director Bob Dempsey clutched his head at the unwelcome news. As experts studied pictures that were beamed down from orbit, Williams assured everyone the wiring would not interfere, saying he had seen the wire like that before. He was right.
The observation deck features a 5-foot-tall, 10-foot-in-diameter domed window that will give astronauts a roomy, 360° view of the Earth. All of the module's seven windows will be unshuttered on either Tuesday or Wednesday, meaning that the astronauts — and the rest of the world — still have a bit of a wait before that amazing view is uncovered.