Following one of the most hyped name-the-spacecraft contests sponsored by NASA since the Constitution/ Enterprise name switch in 1976, the name TRANQUILITY won out over the even bigger vote winner COLBERT, as former space station astronaut Suni Williams made the announcement tonight on the Comedy Central network.
The much watched Colbert Report show had host Stephen Colbert and Williams make the announcement at 11:47 pm EDT tonight. TRANQUILITY won out for its significance of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the first moon landing upon the Sea of Tranquility.
TRANQUILITY is a multi-window module which will support several windows, giving astronauts and cosmonauts both a 360-degree view of space. The new Node will launch no earlier than February 2010 aboard the Endeavour STS-130 mission.
Instead, NASA has named their new space station treadmill COLBERT or Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill. The new treadmill will launch in August, and later will be moved to the new Node once it arrives several months later. There station crew members can run in place for with an excellent view of the earth and space around them.
"We don't typically name U.S. space station hardware after living people and this is no exception," Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations stated today. "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."