Presumably the various windows on the different modules of the ISS are consistent on the different segments of the ISS.

What are the windows on the US Segment made out of? Do they have special coatings to block specific frequencies of light?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ How is the related question is getting up votes and this one is not? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ @JamesJenkins Beats me! I wanted to distinguish since the Russian segment shares literally nothing in common with the US Segment. (Do they even have similar/compatible power systems?) A previous question indicates that the water storage systems are incompatible as the preservatives will 'clash' and precipitate nasty stuff. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 2:55
  • $\begingroup$ Related windows Related power Related water $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 28, 2014 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ ESA-built Cupola uses "Fused silica and borosilicate glass" (esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/…) $\endgroup$
    – osgx
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


ESA-built Cupola uses "Fused silica and borosilicate glass" for all its windows including biggest 80 cm one (reference is http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station/Cupola)

In http://www.esa.int/esapub/bulletin/bulletin137/bul137h_deloo.pdf on page 7 (labelled 66) there is text about previous 50 cm window on ISS

The high-tech 12 cm thick glass is actually a composite of four laminated panes consisting of a thin exterior 'debris' pane that protects it from micrometiorites, two internal pressure panes, and an interior 'scratch' pant to absorb accidental marking from inside

The reference guide from NASA http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/508318main_ISS_ref_guide_nov2010.pdf shows typical window in "Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) Protection" (page 98 of guide, figure "Typical Glass Windowpane design"):

International space station windowpane design

Outer removable shutter, Outer meteoroid/debris pane 0.93 cm, Redundant pressure pane 2.54 cm, Primary pressure pane 2.54 cm, Inner scratch pane 1.14 cm

All panes have 14.3 cm width total.

This paper Transparent Armor Ceramics as Spacecraft Windows (2012) says "Only one material has been researched and used extensively: fused silica. Fused silica has performed well in the space shuttle orbiter and the international space station (ISS) with no catastrophic failures."


The window in the U.S. Laboratory was made from fused silica glass and the hatch windows were made of Chemcor, both provided by Corning, Inc

NASA-STD-5018.pdf (https://standards.nasa.gov/documents/viewdoc/3315793/3315793) and SSP 30560 (offline) have some requirements for glass usage in space:


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