This astronaut photograph, taken from the International Space Station while over China (approximately 400 kilometers to the northwest of Beijing), provides the unusual perspective of looking down on a meteor as it passes through the atmosphere. The image was taken on August 13, 2011, during the Perseid Meteor Shower that occurs every August.
As Phil Plait informs us at the link above, this gorgeous shot was taken from the International Space Station on Jan 1, 2013. That so many would desire to live in a place so beautiful, with full knowledge of the possible destruction that this active volcano could wreak on their lives (as it did less than two millennia ago), speaks volumes about us.
Sometimes when you take a picture of Earth, it can be a self-portrait of humanity itself. It’s a stunningly beautiful place, and that seems to trump danger and risk for a great many people.
The Christmas Tree on the International Space Station is up! Up on the ceiling, thanks to no gravity. Wishing our 6 astronauts and cosmonauts on the ISS a very Merry Christmas. #NASA #ISS #Space #Christmas #Tree
NASA and its Commercial Crew Program announced new agreements with three American commercial companies to design and develop the next generation of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities, enabling a launch of astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years.
Advances made by these companies under newly signed Space Act Agreements through the agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative are intended to ultimately lead to the availability of commercial human spaceflight services for government and commercial customers.
SpaceX’s crewed Dragon will get more lift capability from the next-generation of Falcon rockets. The uncrewed version of Dragon recently made history as the first commercially built spacecraft to rendezvous and then berth with the International Space Station.
Sierra Nevada Corporation will advance its Dream Chaser spacecraft, which resembles NASA’s space shuttle but is smaller and based on improvements to the agency’s HL-20 lifting-body design. The company partnered with United Launch Alliance to launch its spacecraft atop an Atlas V rocket.
Boeing will continue to develop its CST-100 spacecraft, which underwent rigorous testing during two previous commercial crew development phases. It too will launch atop an Atlas V.
(15 July 2012) —- The Soyuz TMA-05M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan July 15, 2012 carrying Expedition 32 Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko, NASA Flight Engineer Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Flight Engineer Akihiko Hoshide to the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi
“Cumulonimbus Cloud over Africa is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 16 crewmember on the International Space Station. Deemed by many meteorologists as one of the most impressive of cloud formations, cumulonimbus (from the Latin for “puffy” and “dark”) clouds form due to vigorous convection of warm and moist unstable air. Surface air warmed by the Sun-heated ground surface rises, and if sufficient atmospheric moisture is present, water droplets will condense as the air mass encounters cooler air at higher altitudes. The air mass itself also expands and cools as it rises due to decreasing atmospheric pressure, a process known as adiabatic cooling. This type of convection is common in tropical latitudes year-round and during the summer season at higher latitudes. As water in the rising air mass condenses and changes from a gaseous to a liquid state, it releases energy to its surroundings, further heating the surrounding air and leading to more convection and rising of the cloud mass to higher altitudes. This leads to the characteristic vertical “towers” associated with cumulonimbus clouds, an excellent example of which is visible in this image (right). If enough moisture is present to condense and continue heating the cloud mass through several convective cycles, a tower can rise to altitudes of approximately 10 kilometers at high latitudes to 20 kilometers in the tropics — before encountering a region of the atmosphere known as the tropopause. The tropopause is characterized by a strong temperature inversion where the atmosphere is dryer and no longer cools with altitude. This halts further vertical motion of the cloud mass, and causes flattening and spreading of the cloud tops into an anvil-shaped cloud as illustrated by this oblique photograph. The view direction is at an angle from the vertical, rather than straight “down” towards the Earth’s surface. The image, photographed while the International Space Station was passing over western Africa near the Senegal-Mali border, shows a fully-formed anvil cloud with numerous smaller cumulonimbus towers rising near it. The high energetics of these storm systems typically make them hazardous due to associated heavy precipitation, lightning, high wind speeds and possible tornadoes.”
The first of two companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station is preparing for a test flight on Saturday, a harbinger of a new type of public-private partnership.
“It is, by all accounts, an important step, bordering on a giant leap, for commercial space,” said Michael Lopez-Alegria, a former astronaut who now heads the Commercial Spaceflight Federation trade organization.
“We are at a brink of a milestone moment in our space history,” added NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver.
Former teacher and present U.S. astronaut will rocket up to the International Space Station on Monday for a six-month expedition.
Veteran shuttle mission specialist Joe Acaba will be the first NASA “educator astronaut” to fly a long-duration mission aboard the orbital laboratory, and he is eager to get under way.
SpaceX: Here we go, y’all.
On Monday, April 30, SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) is all set to conduct a critical static engine test fire of the Falcon 9 rocket at the firm’s launch pad on Cape Canaveral, Florida.
If all goes well, SpaceX and NASA are targeting a May 7 liftoff of the rocket and Dragon spacecraft at 9:38 AM, bound for the International Space Station (ISS). This launch signifies the first time that a commercial company is attempting to dock at the ISS.
During the hotfire test, all nine of the powerful liquid fueled Merlin 1C first stage engines will be ignited at full power for two seconds as part of a full launch dress rehearsel for the flight, dubbed COTS 2. SpaceX engineers will run through all launch procedures on Monday as though this were an actual launch on launch day.
Being an astronaut isn’t what it used to be. At least not in the case of NASA space-traveler Ron Garan. Garan is an astronaut 2.0 — not a distant hero but a connected one, putting modern social media to use in telling his story about what it’s like to travel in Earth’s orbit. While circling the Earth last year, Garan, or @Astro_Ron as we call him here at The Atlantic, tweeted pictures of his five-month adventure on the International Space Station, keeping his tens of thousands of Twitter followers up to date on the views outside his space-station window. Now, in another social-media foray, Garan took to Reddit yesterday, in a late-night “ask me anything” session, which has garnered more than 4,000 comments.
Last fall, in an essay titled “Innovation Starvation,” sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson lamented the decline of the American space program. He recalled the awe and wonder he felt growing up, sitting in front of grainy black-and-white images of the Gemini missions. And he explained the great disappointment he felt at witnessing the final Space Shuttle launch. To him, NASA’s move away from manned space exploration represented something larger, what he called “our far broader inability as a society to execute on the big stuff.” Raised on mid-twentieth century techno-optimism, he grew up with big expectations for the future: space stations and vacations on Mars. Not only had those dreams failed to materialize, he said, but no one seemed to be dreaming them anymore. Read on!
A bustling metropolis in the heart of the United Arab Emirates lights up the night in this photo taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
The city of Dubai is the largest metropolitan area in the emirate of the same name. The region’s uniquely shaped island developments, framed by a bright lattice of orange lights, are clearly visible in this nighttime image taken from space.
Dubai is a popular photographic target for astronauts aboard the International Space Station because of the artificial archipelagos located just offshore in the Persian Gulf, NASA officials said in a statement. These attention-grabbing features were intentionally built so that the full design is only visible from a vantage point looking straight down, such as an airplane or an orbiting outpost in space.
The cluster of lights at the bottom right is the Palm Jumeira complex, which is still under development. The palm tree-shaped artificial archipelago consists of a crescent breakwater surrounding a trunk and 16 fronds.