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
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.
Posted in atmosphere, SciBlogs, science, Science and Society
Tagged Earth, Expedition 28, International Space Station, Kennedy Space Center, NASA, SciBlogs, space, Space Shuttle, Space Shuttle Atlantis
The Shuttle launches are always dramatic events. Pity there are only two more planned. They are one event I would have liked to have seen before popping my clogs.
However, there are always the photos. And some of the most interesting are those taken from the air, or even from orbit, rather than the ground. I have seen a few taken from airplanes, or by parachuters. There is even one taken from the International Space Station!
Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer and author of the book Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End . . ., has been presenting some of these on his blog recently. His last one, taken by Van Wideman, is of the launch which carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit back in 1990.
This must be pretty rare:
Thanks to Bad Astronomer – Diving into and out of the sky.
With the retirement of NASA’s shuttle fleet later this year we won’t be seeing images like this any more.
This shows Image of the solar transit of the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Atlantis 50 minutes before docking last weekend. The last planned trip for Atlantis.
Have a look at the full image or click on the photo – it’s worth it!
The image is by Thierry Legault (see Solar Transit of ISS and Atlantis – Last Mission of Atlantis).
Thanks to Bad Astonomer (see ISS, Shuttle transit the Sun!).
I can still remember one of the few practical demonstrations I observed in my first year university physics class many years ago. This illustrated conservation of momentum. It involved our lecturer climbing on to the lecture room bench and standing on a plank of wood resting on (empty) beer bottles laid on their side (to reduce friction).
When he jumped forward by a small distance, the plank of wood shot back by a larger distance (conserving momentum). It was a risky experiment and several beer bottles broke.
I am not sure how many students appreciated the physical law being demonstrated. Practical demonstrations were not common in teaching those days. I suspect for many it just reinforced in their minds that this particular lecturer was, if not mad, at least eccentric.
In these more enlightened day I hope teachers use every advantage to practically demonstrate physical laws. Some of the videos being recorded on the International Space Station ISS could be useful for this.
Last week Astronaut Jeff Williams demonstrated the acceleration experienced inside the cabin during a planned ISS reboost. The ISS is reboosted periodically to maintain its orbit, and to prepare for visiting spacecraft, such as the space shuttle (a launch planned this week) and Progress vehicles.
Jeff’s experiment demonstrates that objects will continue in motion unless acted on by a force. In this case he shows that a free-floating body will move relative to the station when the station is accelerating.
A simple demonstration of an important physical law.
via YouTube – Space Station Reboost.
All going well the STS-129 Shuttle launch will occur on Monday 2.28 pm EST, USA (8.28 am Tuesday, NZ time).
Here’s a photograph of the crew for this mission.
What interests me, though, is that the number of astronauts using social media like Twitter is currently increasing markedly. It’s now quite common to get tweets from orbit. Two of the STS-129 crew and two currently on the International Space Station are using twitter
The STS-129 crew (in the photo) are astronauts Charlie Hobaugh (left), commander; and Barry Wilmore, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland Melvin (Astro_Flow), Mike Foreman, Robert Satcher (ZeroG_MD and Astro_Bones)and Randy Bresnik, all mission specialists. [The astro_ links are their twitter accounts].
Currently on the International Space Station are astronauts Nicole Stott (Astro_Nicole) and Jeff Williams (Astro_Jeff) who have been twittering regularly.
It’s fascinating to get these little messages from orbit. Like Nicole Stott’s “Saw my first shooting star from space tonight! Over Mongolia” or Jeff Williams’ “Progress 35 has docked to ISS. Fresh fruit and vegetables included. A few hours to go to get thru checks and hatch open.”If you are looking for people to follow on Twitter you could do a lot worse than following these astronauts. You will get tweets from out of thios world.
Here’s a video of the STS-129 mission profile
There’s something about shuttle launches. And there’s also something about night photography.
Image from Space.com
The space shuttle Discovery soars into the night sky above the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 28, 2009 at 11:59 pm ET to begin a 13-day mission to the International Space Station. Credit: Robert Pearlman/collectSPACE.com.