Posts tagged space station

Posted 1 year ago

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Launches to the Space Station
Image Credit: NASA

Explanation: This fire-breathing Dragon can fly. Pictured above yesterday, SpaceX Corporation’s Falcon 9 rocket capped with a Dragon spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The successful launch was significant not only because it demonstrated that a private company has the ability to re-supply the International Space Station (ISS), but also that spaceflight has taken a significant step away from being an endeavor that only big governments can do with public money. If all continues as planned, the robotic Dragon will dock with the ISS this weekend. Over the next two weeks, the ISS Expedition 31 crew will then unload Dragon and refill it with used scientific equipment. In about three weeks, the ISS’s robotic arm will then undock Dragon and move it to where it can fire its rockets. Soon thereafter the Dragon capsule is expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, deploy its parachutes, splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California, and be recovered.

Posted 2 years ago
Around the World in 90 Minutes
Video Credit: Expedition 28 & 29 Crews, ISAL, NASA’s JSC;
Compilation and Editing: Michael König; Music: Do Dekor (Jan Jelinek), faitiche

Explanation: What is it like to circle the Earth? Every 90 minutes, astronauts aboard the International Space Station experience just that. Recently, crew members took a series of light-sensitive videos looking down at night that have been digitally fused to produce the above time-lapse video. Many wonders of the land and sky are visible in the eighteen sequences, including red aurora above green aurora, lights from many major cities, and stars in the background. Looming at the top of the frame is usually part of the space station itself, sometimes seen re-orienting solar panels. Please help create a useful companion guide for this moving video by identifying landmarks, cities, countries, weather phenomena, and even background constellations that appear.

Posted 2 years ago
Flying Over Planet Earth
Image Credit: NASA; Acknowledgement: Infinity Imagined

Explanation: Have you ever dreamed of flying high above the Earth? Astronauts visiting the International Space Station do this every day, circling our restless planet twice every three hours. A dramatic example of their view was compiled in the above time-lapse video from images taken earlier this month. As the ISS speeds into the nighttime half of the globe, familiar constellations of stars remain visible above. An aerosol haze of Earth’s thin atmosphere is visible on the horizon as an thin multi-colored ring. Many wonders whiz by below, including vast banks of white clouds, large stretches of deep blue sea, land lit up by the lights of big cities and small towns, and storm clouds flashing with lightning. The video starts over the northern Pacific Ocean and then passes from western North America to western South America, ending near Antarctica as daylight finally approaches.

Posted 2 years ago
Perseid Below
Credit: Ron Garan, ISS Expedition 28 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Denizens of planet Earth watched this year’s Perseid meteor shower by looking up into the moonlit night sky. But this remarkable view captured by astronaut Ron Garan looks down on a Perseid meteor. From Garan’s perspective onboard the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of about 380 kilometers, the Perseid meteors streak below, swept up dust left from comet Swift-Tuttle heated to incandescence. The glowing comet dust grains are traveling at about 60 kilometers per second through the denser atmosphere around 100 kilometers above Earth’s surface. In this case, the foreshortened meteor flash is right of frame center, below the curving limb of the Earth and a layer of greenish airglow. Out of the frame, the Sun is on the horizon beyond one of the station’s solar panel arrays at the upper right. Seen above the meteor near the horizon is bright star Arcturus and a star field that includes the constellations Bootes and Corona Borealis. The image was recorded on August 13 while the space station orbited above an area of China approximately 400 kilometers to the northwest of Beijing.

Posted 2 years ago
A Busy Space Walk at the Space Station
ISS Expedition 28 Crew, STS-135 Crew, NASA

Explanation: What’s that astronaut doing? Unloading a space shuttle — for the last time. After the space shuttle Atlantis docked with the International Space Station (ISS) last week, astronaut Mike Fossum underwent a long spacewalk that included carrying a Robotics Refueling Mission (RRM) payload from Atlantis’ cargo bay to a platform used by the space station’s famous robot DEXTRE. On Earth, the RRM box would have the weight of about three people and be much more difficult to carry. Pictured above on the far left, DEXTRE prepares to help move a failed space pump back to Atlantis. Visible behind the astronaut is the space station’s Kibo Experimental Module. The much awaited final shuttle return flight is currently scheduled for 5:56 am EDT Thursday, July 21.

Posted 2 years ago
Atlantis Reflection
Image Credit: NASA, Bill Ingalls

Explanation: Space shuttle orbiter Atlantis left planet Earth on Friday, July 8, embarking on the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The momentous launch was the final one in NASA’s 30 year space shuttle program that began with the launch of the first reusable spacecraft on April 12, 1981. In this reflective prelaunch image from July 7, Atlantis stands in a familiar spot on the Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A, after an early evening roll back of the pad’s Rotating Service Structure. The historic orbital voyages of Atlantis have included a Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, deployment of Magellan, Galileo, and the Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, and seven trips to the Russian space station Mir. Scheduled to dock once again with the International Space Station on Sunday, Atlantis has now made its 33rd and final trip to orbit.