HOUSTON, March 9, 2017 — When retired Army Col. Mark Vande Hei blasts off into space later this year for a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station, he’ll be proud to play a part in helping advance the human race.

But what he really can’t wait for, he said, is the stellar view from 200 miles above Earth, where the space station orbits the planet every 90 minutes.

In 2010, a cupola was installed on the station. It’s a multi-windowed observatory module that offers 360-degree views of the blue planet. Inside, astronauts use various levers and controls to perform tasks like using the station’s robotic arm to pull in routine supply loads launched into space.

Read More….