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[i]Houston, Tranquility Node 3 here, the COLBERT has landed.[/i]
Displaying both a sense of history and humor, NASA on Tuesday revealed "Tranquility" as the name of its newest space station module, while christening a new astronaut exercise device after the comedian whose name led their public opinion poll for what to name the orbiting outpost's new room.
[b]NASA New Space Station Module Name Honors Apollo 11 Anniversary[/b]
The International Space Station module formerly known as Node 3 has a new name. After more than a million online responses, the node will be called "Tranquility."
The name Tranquility was chosen from thousands of suggestions submitted by participants on NASA's Web site. The "Help Name Node 3" poll asked people to vote for the module's name either by choosing one of four options listed by NASA or offering their own suggestion. Tranquility was one of the top 10 suggestions submitted by respondents to the poll, which ended March 20.
"The public did a fantastic job and surprised us with the quality and volume of the suggestions," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations. "Apollo 11 landed on the moon at the Sea of Tranquility 40 years ago this July. We selected 'Tranquility' because it ties it to exploration and the moon and symbolizes the spirit of international cooperation embodied by the space station."
NASA announced the name Tuesday with the help of Expedition 14 and 15 astronaut Suni Williams on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." The show's producers offered to host the name selection announcement after comedian Stephen Colbert took an interest in the poll and urged his viewers to suggest the name "Colbert," which received the most entries.
"We don't typically name U.S. space station hardware after living people and this is no exception," Gerstenmaier joked. "However, NASA is naming its new space station treadmill the 'Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,' or COLBERT. We have invited Stephen to Florida for the launch of COLBERT and to Houston to try out a version of the treadmill that astronauts train on."
The treadmill is targeted to launch to the station in August. It will be installed in Tranquility after the node arrives at the station next year. A newly-created patch will depict the acronym and an illustration of the treadmill.
Tranquility is scheduled to arrive at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in May. There, it will be prepared for space shuttle Endeavour's flight, designated STS-130, which is targeted for launch in February 2010. Tranquility will join four other named U.S. modules on the station: the Destiny laboratory, the Quest airlock, the Unity node and the Harmony node.
Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems. Attached to the node is a cupola, which is a unique work station with six windows on the sides and one on top.
Suni Williams made the announcement on "The Colbert Report" two years after running the Boston Marathon in space on a station treadmill similar to COLBERT. Video of Williams' run and the name announcement on "The Colbert Report" will air on NASA Television's Video File.
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