The International Space Station's 7m (22.9ft)-long pressurised cylindrical Node 2 module "Harmony" is pictured being loaded into the payload bay of NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery ahead of its planned launch this week.

Developed by Thales Alenia Space, the 14,000kg (31,000lb) node will increase the station's internal volume by about 500m3 (17,600ft3) and will link the ISS's US Destiny laboratory to the forthcoming Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo and European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory modules.


Above: Node 2 module "Harmony" is loaded into Space Shuttle Discovery's payload bay
Harmony will also be used as a connecting port for Japan's ISS resupply spacecraft, HII Transfer Vehicle, and the Italian space agency's Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules, which are transported to the ISS by the Space Shuttles. Harmony will also allow the ISS's Canadarm2 robotic arm to operate from its powered grapple fixture on its exterior.



Source: Flight International