Posts Tagged ‘iss’

ISS Time-Lapse Video of Earth

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Time Lapse From Space – Literally. The Journey Home. from Fragile Oasis on Vimeo.

Great video by American astronaut — and SUNY Oneonta graduate — Ron Garan

The video shows his first attempt at time-lapse photography, suggested by his photography instructor Katrina Willoughby. He set up a Nikon D3S camera in the Cupola windowed observatory to take about 500 pictures at 3-second intervals. The project continued using D3S and D2XS cameras.

All the sequences that appear in the video were shot by either Garan or Fossum. It shows the space station’s orbits around the Earth, though the photography seems to speed up the motion.

The breath-taking sights seen on the video include the world from central Africa to Russia, Europe to the Middle East and footage of the United States. It also includes hurricanes Katia and Irene and several lightning storms.

It is set to the music of Peter Gabriel, featuring his songs “Downside Up” and “Down To Earth.”

China’s “Heavenly Lab”

Thursday, September 29th, 2011


China’s Tiangong-1 is set to launch into low-earth orbit today, with the hopes of some day building a space station to rival the ISS.

Do they have a plan to dominate space? Not really. Dr. Morris Jones of Australia explains all in Space Daily

This module is a small space laboratory with a single docking port. It is not the first module of a large Chinese space station, as some media reports are saying.

Tiangong 1 will test some of the technologies that will be used to build a large Chinese space station in the future, but it is not even a prototype of the modules that will be used to build the station.

Tiangong 1 will be used as a rendezvous and docking target for the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft, which will launch before the end of this year. China has never docked two spacecraft before. Shenzhou 8 will stay docked with Tiangong 1 for about three weeks, and will then send its descent module to a soft landing back on Earth.

If all has gone well with this flight, we can expect Shenzhou 9 to fly to Tiangong 1 in 2012, this time with astronauts aboard. They will live aboard the laboratory and their docked Shenzhou spacecraft for a short mission, then come home. Later in 2012, the Shenzhou 10 mission will also fly to Tiangong 1, delivering its second (and probably final) crew.

At this stage, we don’t know how many astronauts will be aboard Shenzhou 9 or 10. A maximum of three crewmembers can fly aboard one of these spacecraft. It’s possible that there will be two or three astronauts on these expeditions. At least one of the missions is expected to carry China’s first female astronaut.

Tiangong 1 is a vital step in China’s quest to develop a space station, but it must be seen as an intermediate program. Two more Tiangong laboratories are expected to be launched by China in the years ahead, gradually testing more technology for the space station.

Tiangong 3 is expected to have more than one docking port, and will possibly see another regular Tiangong module docked with it before a crew is launched there.

When China’s space station is finally assembled in orbit around 2020, the Tiangong spacecraft will see a new lease of life. It will be refitted to serve as a cargo carrier, delivering food and other supplies to the astronauts aboard the space station.

Yes, it’s a wonderful program, and we’ve been waiting a long time to see Tiangong fly. But please don’t confuse it with the next step in China’s space program. When the final space station is built, it will eclipse the modestly sized Tiangong laboratory in terms of size, performance and achievements.

Good luck!


Monday, September 26th, 2011

Via Discovery News


This gorgeous video was made by science teacher James Drake using images downloaded from The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. This is a great online resource with basically all of the images taken from orbit, categorized into a searchable database by region and date. He used a free program calledVirtualDub to create the final edit.

PHOTOS: Inside Atlantis’ Final Space Station Mission

James explains on YouTube: “This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica. Visible cities, countries and landmarks include (in order) Vancouver Island, Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles. Phoenix. Multiple cities in Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. Mexico City, the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula, Lightning in the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and the Amazon. Also visible is the earths ionosphere (thin yellow line) and the stars of our galaxy.”

My favorite parts are the golden reflections of the cities’ lights on the solar panels of the ISS and the strobelike flashes of lightning visible in some of the clouds.


Soyuz Wanna Get Out or What?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Looks pretty tight in there, comrade. I figure the thrill of orbiting Earth in the ISS is worth the cramped quarters while getting there — and back. Welcome home, Soyuz TMA-01M.

The details, via

Outgoing Expedition 26 commander Scott Kelly, Soyuz TMA-01M commander Alexander Kaleri and flight engineer Oleg Skripochka undocked from the International Space Station Wednesday, plunged back into the atmosphere and descended to a snowy touchdown in Kazakhstan to close out 159-day mission. With Kaleri at the controls in the descent module’s center seat, flanked by Kelly on his right and flight engineer Skripochka to his left, the Soyuz TMA-01M undocked from the Poisk compartment atop the station’s Zvezda command module at 12:27 a.m. EDT (GMT-4).
After testing repairs to the Soyuz avionics system, Kaleri monitored a four-minute 17-second rocket firing starting at 3:03:17 a.m., slowing the ship by 258 mph to begin the fall to Earth.
The three modules making up the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft separated as planned just before atmospheric entry, and the central crew module carrying Kaleri, Skripochka and Kelly lined up for a fiery descent to a parachute- and rocket-assisted touchdown at 3:54 a.m. near Arkalyk in north central Kazakhstan.
Braving blowing snow, brisk winds and temperatures in the 20s, Russian recovery crews and flight surgeons, along with a NASA support team, were standing by to help the astronauts out of the cramped Soyuz descent module.

“The search and recovery forces still working to extract the crew from the Soyuz capsule, which landed safely and on its side, dragging its parachute for what I would consider to be about 25 years or so before it came to rest on its side,” said NASA spokesman Rob Navias, on the scene with recovery crews in Kazakhstan. “The crew reported to be in good shape.”
A few minutes later, Kaleri, Kelly and Skripochka had been pulled from the capsule and carried to reclining chairs. Grainy video from the landing site showed support crews bundling the crew members in blankets as they began their re-adaptation to gravity.

Because of the brutal winter conditions, the recovery team planned to fly the trio to nearby Kustanai for initial medical checks and a traditional Kazakh welcoming ceremony.

Here’s the video…