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33 votes
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Why does the ISS cupola have Interior Protective Sliding Windows

That's a "bump shield" used for filming the IMAX movie A Beautiful Planet. According to IMAX, their desire to film from aboard the Cupola forced them to design an "exclusive bump shield made of a ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
23 votes

Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

For shuttle, the crew flew the last few minutes of the landing manually. Manual flying was a contingency mode for most parts of the entry. Some kind of outside view is required for that. Given video ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

What are the two orange tabs stuck on opposite edges of each window of the ISS cupola?

These are part of the cupola window temperature control system. Each window has window heaters and temperature sensing modules (these orange tabs) to make sure the windows don't get too hot or too ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
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16 votes

Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

Video technology of the MIR space station was obviously still not good enough during the 1997 MIR-Progress collision. The radar had been shut down because of technical problems, but the docking ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
15 votes
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Is this ginormous porthole a permanent feature of the ISS or "just passing through"?

It's on one of the Russian modules of the ISS, that's why it's a ginormous Russian porthole. Since the porthole is facing Earth, I'd say yes, it's also facing the same general direction as the cupola,...
FKEinternet's user avatar
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14 votes
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Is the cupola, on the inside of the ISS, cold or warm to the touch?

The windows of the Cupola are not made of a single pane. When not shuttered, the Cupola windows present a four layered front to potential impactors: a debris pane, two pressure panes, and an ...
Uwe's user avatar
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12 votes
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Does the ISS have zenith-facing windows?

There are windows on Zvezda from which you can see zenith, but these aren't facing exactly zenith. It doesn't seem as though any other segment on the ISS have zenith windows. From this website, at ...
Arthur Dent's user avatar
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9 votes
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Approximate sizes and relative positions of the ISS' cupola windows?

Here's a possibly-final spec sheet, dimensioned in millimeters: I found another one on this page, but it appears to be a quite early design, and while it offers more dimensional callouts, they don't ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
9 votes
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Were there any STS missions that included maneuvers that might have photographed ISS's top side?

Yes. Many of the shuttle missions late in the program performed a flyaround of the ISS after undocking. (STS trivia fact: This maneuver was traditionally flown by the pilot (the docking was ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
9 votes
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Did Valentin Lebedev or any another Salut cosmonaut actually get suntanned for fun and/or for science?

It does seem that Lebedev and his crewmate Anatoliy Berezovoy did indeed suntan on Salyut-7. The NASA report references a column in 'Pravda', which published excerpts from the published diary of ...
Mu3's user avatar
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8 votes
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How (the heck) do you replace a space station window in orbit?

The plan for replacement of an entire window is a bit surprising. It would not be done by closing the cupola hatch and depressurizing the cupola - although such a hatch does exist. (in the picture 1 = ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
7 votes

Approximate sizes and relative positions of the ISS' cupola windows?

There's a pdf here (may be largely redundant to the other answer). This is a crop from it:
Organic Marble's user avatar
7 votes

Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

I would like to add one additional effect. Keeping the astronauts sane. Really, ever sit in a small tight room for a week with no windows and no confirmation of anything beyond. In prison they use ...
coteyr's user avatar
  • 240
6 votes
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Do ISS astronauts occasionally let the sunshine in for a natural light "fix"?

I cannot find a definitive answer to this one. Obviously, they open the windows sometimes to take pictures, but from what I can tell (from most pages that I have read) they actually keep the windows ...
called2voyage's user avatar
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5 votes
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Comparison of space shuttle, command module, and lunar module window sizes

Windows are kept small because they are heavy Windows need to be thick enough to survive micrometeoroid impacts and the stresses of spaceflight, and to provide radiation protection. They also need ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
5 votes

Is the cupola, on the inside of the ISS, cold or warm to the touch?

In addition to the other answer: the ISS rotates to keep its nadir side (which the cupola is part of) pointed at Earth. This means the cupola is shielded from direct sunlight by the rest of the ISS ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
5 votes

Comparison of space shuttle, command module, and lunar module window sizes

The vehicles had different requirements. The CM splashed down in the ocean, the LM landed vertically on the moon, the shuttle landed on a runway. Requirements drive design. See also Do windows in ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
5 votes

Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

On the ISS, the Cupola is used to observe operations: The International Space Station Cupola was first conceived in 1987 by Space Station Man-Systems Architectural Control Manager Gary Kitmacher ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
5 votes

Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

Windows have been primarily required for Docking operations (Gemini, Apollo CM and LM, STS, ISS) Landings (Apollo LM, STS) Remote manipulation, e.g. Canadarm (STS, ISS) Visual inspection (Apollo, STS,...
John Bode's user avatar
  • 2,300
4 votes

Do ISS astronauts occasionally let the sunshine in for a natural light "fix"?

According to Scott Kelly's book Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, the astronauts love to look out the windows and he's seen "thousands" of sunrises in space. And the pictures you ...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
  • 11.3k
4 votes
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Is the Shenzhou-11 crew's capsule just launched windowless?

Clearly there is a window. Upper left, watch lighting change within the capsule and on astronaut's face after fairing separation. above: GIF made from screen captures from the following YouTube video:...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
4 votes
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How do modern "space windows" protect from dangerous UV? Is it simply the type of glass, or are there coatings or filters also?

This article from Air Space Mag (https://www.airspacemag.com/space/window-on-the-world-1142261/) says that the window for the Destiny module was designed as such (emphasis my own) The window’s glass ...
Freddie R's user avatar
  • 2,544
3 votes

How do modern "space windows" protect from dangerous UV? Is it simply the type of glass, or are there coatings or filters also?

The biggest windows I can think of that can expose crew to a good dose of sunlight are the ISS' cupola, so those might be a good starting point. Like all the other US spacecraft windows I know of (...
Organic Marble's user avatar
3 votes

How do modern "space windows" protect from dangerous UV? Is it simply the type of glass, or are there coatings or filters also?

Not modern, but Apollo used coatings on the windows of the command module and lunar module. Source: Apollo Experience Report: Spacecraft Structural Windows, NASA Tech Note D-7439. The CM windows ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
3 votes
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Would a manned spacecraft on a Mars mission need large windows?

No. There is no need for windows, from a technical perspective. Humans like windows, or at least display screens so they can see what's going on, avoid going stir-crazy from living in a capsule for ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 13.6k
3 votes

What was the normal function of the (coax?) crosshairs used during the Apollo 13 famous manual burn?

Generally, they used the optical alignment sight to align the spacecraft when docking. https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/coas.htm The film may be referring to the landing point designator, or LPD found in ...
not_jc's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes

Does the ISS have zenith-facing windows?

Very late to the party, but here's a supplemental answer supporting the argument that Service Module (SM) windows 12 and 13 can be used to view the zenith. Images generated by DOUG, an official NASA ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
2 votes
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Is this window zenith-facing? (ISS docked Soyuz) If so, how directly?

That appears to be the "cupola window", it's in the structural ring around the docking hatch and looks straight out the front of the Soyuz. You can see the probe from the docking mechanism hanging ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
2 votes

Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

Other people have already pointed out practical reasons for being able to see outside; for controlling robot arms, landing shuttles manually or general failover. Cameras are not only more fragile, but ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes

Comparison of space shuttle, command module, and lunar module window sizes

The space shuttles, had a viewing window much similar in looks […] like the cockpit of a plane. The Space Shuttles were planes. The others weren't. Hence it makes sense to have airplane-like windows, ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar

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