Tag Archives: International Space Station

Our beautiful planet: Astronaut art works

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This photo is a real work of art – the sort of thing I would love to have displayed on my wall.

But there is plenty where that came from. It is one of the photo’s taken by astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station. He lifted off from Kazakhstan on March 27 and is scheduled to return to Earth on March 3, 2016, after spending a total of 522 days in space, according to NASA (this is his 4th mission).

Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly aboard the ISS

The photos here are from a series Scott took of the Sahara desert. Really beautiful works of art.

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These photos are from: Earth Art: NASA ‘artist’ stuns Twitter with Sahara Desert pics taken from space (PHOTOS) — RT News

Follow Scott Kelly on Twitter (@StationCDRKellyfor more of his brilliant photography from space.

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A job with a view – but not for the clumsy

Here is a breathtaking GoPro video of a spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts, Mikhail Korniyenko and the record-breaking Gennady Padalka, outside the International Space Station (ISS). (Padalka recently set a new record of 879 cumulative days spent in space.)

It is certainly an exciting job – and what a view!

But I’m amazed at all the fiddly stuff on the outside of the ISS.  I wouldn’t have the confidence – too scared of being caught up in all the wires and gadgets.

Although, there would not be a problem with dropping tools and gadgets.

See how Gennady Padalka, or is it Mikhail Korniyenko, disposes of the replaced item at the end!

Thanks to: GoPro captures Russian cosmonaut duo performing spectacular spacewalk

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Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds

Many people have probably just become aware of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in the last week because of his musical video Space Oddity that went viral.

It might be hard to find anyone who has not watched that video. However, Hadfield has starred in many videos from the International Space Station – sometimes singing but more often introducing viewers to interesting facts about living in a zero gravity environment.

This video is a very short (90 seconds) mashup of some of these.

Houston, We Have A Viral Video – Chris Hadfield In Space

Thanks to Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds – Ontario Stargazing.

Video coverage of astronauts’ return to earth next Tuesday morning

UPDATE: Woops! Sorry, I confused the time conversions. The correct NZ times are now present in bold.

It’s all go aboard the International Space Station at the moment. An external ammonia link was found today (see NASA: Space station power system radiator leaking). This is connected to power systems and steps are changes are being made to isolate its effects.

Meanwhile three of the cosmonauts/astronauts will be returning to earth early next week. Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will undock their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft from the station on Tuesday May 14 NZT (7:08 p.m. EDT May 13), heading for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of Dzhezkazgan at 10:31 p.m. EDT (8:31 a.m. Kazakh time, May 14). They will have spent 146 days in space since their Dec. 19 launch from Kazakhstan.

Chris Hadfield, a Canadian, has been very actively photographing the earth – different countries and cities, and sending the photos out to social media via Twitter. He’s also done a lot of communication via video links to schoolchildren and other audiences. Hopefully the remaining cosmonauts/astronauts, and the new arrivals will make efforts  continue such communication.

The Canadian Space Agency will mark the landing with a “Tweetup” at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Quebec. This will include live video coverage of the landing.


Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield

Activities connected with the departure of the Soyuz craft and its landing can be following live on NASA TV. Coverage will begin Sunday, May 12 EDT, with the change of command ceremony between Hadfield and Vinogradov. Coverage will continue May 13 and 14 EDT with Expedition 35 landing and post-landing activities.

  • NASA TV’s full coverage schedule is as follows (I have included both NZT and EDT):
  • Sunday, May 12, 3:40 p.m. EDT  — Expedition 35/36 change of command ceremony
  • Monday, May 13, 3:30 p.m. EDT 11:30 p.m. NZT– Farewells and hatch closure (hatch closure scheduled at 3:50 p.m. EDT, 7:50 a.m. Tuesday 14 NZT)
  • 6:45 p.m Monday, EDT. 10:45 a.m. Tuesday 14 NZT. — Undocking (undocking scheduled at 7:08 p.m. [11.08 a.m Tuesday 14 NZT])
  • 9:15 p.m. Monday EDT. 1:15 p.m. Tuesday 14 NZT — Deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn scheduled at 9:37 p.m. EDT [1.37 p.m Tuesday 14 NZT], landing scheduled at 10:31 p.m. EDT [2.31 p.m. Tuesday 14 NZT]).
  • There will also be later video coverage of post landing activities.

A sombre night in Boston


Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) tweeted the above picture today from the International Space Station. As he wrote – “A somber Spring night in Boston.”

Boston Marathon bombings

I think it demonstrates the sort of high-tech world we now live in – high connectivity, immediate information transfer and amazing technology. We have astronauts in near earth orbit tweeting condolences and images in  response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon. But the bombs themselves probably also relied on the technology of cell phones for their detonation, even though they may have been relatively primitive devices themselves. On the other hand, authorities quickly closed down cell phone communication – maybe preventing further detonations. And they are investigating records of cell tower transmissions – hopefully this will give them leads enabling rapid arrest of the perpetrators.

Technology – it’s a mixed bag. It can be used for evil as well as good.

Empathise with victims of terror everywhere

The other thought this atrocity evokes in me is that our technology and culture seems to restrict our empathy to the “first world.” The world we see everyday on our TVs. Inevitably we wear cultural blinkers.

What happened in Boston today happens regularly in a number of “third world” countries, and we hardly hear about those events. Meetings, markets, churches, mosques and other places humans gather together are regularly bombed in a number of “third world” countries. Just in the last few days dozens of people were murdered in Iraq in this way. Wedding parties are bombed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sometimes these people are “collateral damage” –  victims of invading or intervening countries committing acts of war. More often they are people purposely targeted in terrorist acts committed for religious, ethnic or ideological reasons.

Whatever – innocent people around the world are regularly killed in such hateful attacks – and we hardly notice. So, while I react with an understandable grief and anger at the shocking waste of life and widespread injuries in Boston today, these feelings are tinged with guilt.

I felt the same way when I reacted to the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. Even today, when I hear or read the term “9/11” I inevitably think of another “9/11” – the bloody coup which overthrew democracy in Chile on September 11, 1973. A coup which lead to the torture and murder of thousands of Chileans.

No, I am not critiquing people for this inevitable cultural blindness. I just wish the great technology we now have would do more to make us realise we are all in this together. That it would more quickly break down the cultural barriers which cause this blindness.

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Christchurch from space

This recent photo of Christchurch from Chris Hadfield now on board the International Space Station appealed to me. It seems to have quite wide coverage – but here it is for readers who have not yet come across it. (Click to enlarge).

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Hadfield’s comment accompanying the Twitter of his photo said:

“Christchurch, NZ, taken just after Earth Hour ended. The perfect grid system of the downtown core is clearly visible.”

Our world from the International Space Station


Photo by Chris Hadfield / NASA: Lake Baikal, Siberia. Immensely old and deep, it holds one-fifth of all the Earth’s fresh water. 26 Feb 2013, 7:31 PM (Click photo to enlarge)

Anyone following Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) on Twitter will have seen some of his gorgeous photos taken from the International Space Station (ISS). Somebody should collect them together so we can browse them.

Well, someone has done that with photos taken by Hadfield and other members of the ISS crew. Have a look at the web site Our World From The ISS or click the screen image below.


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Amazing photos of Shuttle Endeavour flight deck

I have enjoyed watching live the launches and landing of the manned space vehicles going to, and coming from, the International Space Station.

The Shuttle launches were always dramatic. The gliding landings of the Shuttle and the parachute assisted landing of the Soyuz vehicles had their own suspense. But something I really missed was on-board video of the astronauts during Shuttle launches and landings.

In contrast we always got views of the three cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz craft during launching. But very rarely anything showing the far more complex flight deck of the Shuttles. I suspect this had something to do with secret technology.

So it was great to find these great photos of the flight deck of the Space Shuttle Endeavour (see Amazing! Must See Shuttle Flight Deck Photos). This was fully powered for one of the last times before it was retired.


Click to enlarge

Another view –  just imagine having to know what all those switches and knobs did!


See also: Best Photos of 2012: Spaceflight

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Atlantis returns home – viewed from ISS

This is a time exposure taken from the International Space Station (ISS). It shows the plasma trail of Atlantis as it travelled through the atmosphere on its final return from orbit.

Thanks to NASA – Station Crew Views Shuttle Landing.

Something to celebrate

"Our Rocket is all set on the launchpad that Yuri Gagarin launched from 50 years ago." - Ron Garan. Photo credit Jake Garan

US Astronaut, Ron Garan, is spending today travelling on board a Russian Soyuz vehicle up to  the Inernational Space Station for a 5 ½ month stint. He finished his last post at his blog, FRAGILE OASIS, before the launch with this (see Last Blog Post On Earth. For Now.):

In the words of Yuri Gagarin as he left the launch pad on that historic day, Поехали “WE’RE OFF!”

The historical significance is that this launch occurs on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – April 12, 1961. And from the same Baikonur Cosmodrome used for Gagarin’s launch. Garan talks about this historic event and some of the traditioons that have grown up around manned space lauches. (For example, every astronaut and Cosmonaut since Gagarin plants a tree before launch).

I remember Gagarin’s flight well. There was understandably far more interest in manned space flight then than there is now. It was certainly an historic event.

So I will be celebrating this anniversary – and hope many others will too. Especially children and students – but anyone interested in or appreciative of science. This event is usually called Yuri’s Night (see below).

Talking about scientific celebrations – Tim Handorf sent me a link to the 20 Best Holidays for Science Geeks. It’s a list of dates for celebration. Great for teachers and parents wishing to cultivate an interest in science among their children.

Here’s the list of suggestions: Continue reading