Category Archives: ISS

Sitting On The Edge

 

It looks like ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is dangling his feet into the void. Actually he was on a spacewalk and together with NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, he spent five hours and 58 minutes outside the Space Station to complete a battery upgrade to the outpost’s power system.

Thomas commented on this picture: “This is what a spacewalk is: 400 km of void under your feet”

Credit: ESA

The Light Study

The Power of Light shows us how NASA is dealing with something pretty common in space but we hardly give a thought, in terms of what life in space must be like.

Science@NASA

The Canadian Lights

ohcanada

 

Just hours after the winter solstice, a mass of energetic particles from the Sun smashed into the magnetic field around Earth. The strong solar wind stream stirred up a display of northern lights over northern Canada.

With the “day-night band” (DNB) of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this view of the aurora borealis on Dec. 22, 2016. The northern lights stretched across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories, areas that often fall under the auroral oval.

The DNB detects dim light signals such as auroras, airglow, gas flares, and reflected moonlight. In the case of the image above, the sensor detected the visible light emissions as energetic particles rained down from Earth’s magnetosphere and into the gases of the upper atmosphere.

The collision of solar particles and pressure into our planet’s magnetosphere accelerates particles trapped in the space around Earth (such as in the radiation belts). Those particles are sent crashing down into Earth’s upper atmosphere—at altitudes of 100 to 400 kilometers (60 to 250 miles)—where they excite oxygen and nitrogen molecules and release photons of light. The results are rays, sheets, and curtains of dancing light in the sky.

Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense.

Annotated image: NASA’s Earth Observatory

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership
Caption: Mike Carlowicz

Sweet Dreams

A peaceful looking scene from the International Space Station.

isshomesweethome

A nighttime view of Western Europe is captured by crew members aboard the International Space Station. England is visible in the top right of the frame, Paris appearing as the bright city near the middle of the image and views of Belgium and the Netherlands occupying the middle-right of frame. — NASA

Image Credit: NASA

ISS Resupply Cargo Launch

The launch of Progress 65 a resupply mission to the ISS was beautiful.  Things went awry about the time for the third stage. Communications with the spacecraft was lost at 383 seconds into the flight – Don’t worry this was an autonomous flight, no people were aboard the spacecraft and the International Space Station has plenty of supplies.

ROSCOSMOS — “According to preliminary information, the contingency took place at an altitude of about 190 km over remote and unpopulated mountainous area of the Republic of Tyva. The most of cargo spacecraft fragments burned in the dense atmosphere. ” – link.

Orbital’s Cygnus Spacecraft Leaves ISS

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The Orbital Cygnus spacecraft departed the International Space Station yesterday morning when it was released from the  Candadarm2 robotic arm by Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Thomas Pesquet of ESA.

In the normal course of events the Cygnus would deorbit until it interfaced with and burned up in the atmosphere.  Not this time around though, Cygnus has a couple of other missions to accomplish before its particular re-entry.

Shortly after departure from the ISS and when the craft is at a safe distance away, mission controllers will set nine sample swatches from different materials used in space on fire in the second of three fire safety experiments.  The experiment called (in this case) Saffire-2 has already occurred and we might get a look as data, including images have been returned.  The first Saffire experiment took place this past October and a third experiment is scheduled.

Cygnus  will release four LEMUR CubeSats from an external deployer on Friday, Nov. 25, sending them to join a remote sensing satellite constellation that provides global ship tracking and weather monitoring.

Image: NASA