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
"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
Posted in news, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged astronomy, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Darwin Day, Earth Day, International Space Station, Ron Garan, Ronald J. Garan Jr., SciBlogs, Soyuz, Yuri Gagarin, Yuri's Night
Easter was a great time for space nerds.
I certainly enjoyed myself. Got to see several passes of the International Space Station (ISS). Once you know the times it’s easy to find. These days it is so bright – and of course it’s moving. Have a look at Heavens Above. Register and enter your location. It’s easy to check at any time when the most favourable passes will be.
It is moving to think that humans are on board the moving speck of light. Last week there were 3, now there are 13. Four of them women. This is the largest number of women in orbit at any one time.
Last Friday two Russian Cosmonauts and and a US astronaut were launched from Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz Capsule. On Monday seven astronauts were launched from Florida in a shuttle. These launches are always impressive. The video coverage of the shuttle launch included shots of an overflight of the ISS 20 minutes before the launch. Soichi Noguchi, one of the astronaughts on baord the ISS had taken this photo of the launch site several hours previously.
Soichi Noguchi is a keen twitterer (Astro_Soichi) and photographer. He regularly sends photos of cities and locations the ISS passes over. Have a look at some of his photos on Twitpic. Here’s a recent time exposure he took of an aurora.
There will only be three more shuttle launches before the fleet is retired. Pity, I would really have loved to see a launch in person. Everyone who has can’t stop raving about it, they are so impressive. Guess I will just have to make do with the video streaming. NASA broadcasts these, as well as the Soyuz launches in real time (see NASA TV).
Posted in Russia, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged Astronaut, astronomy, International Space Station, Kazakhstan, NASA, Soichi Noguchi, Soyuz, space