Category Archives: ISS

A Calm Beauty


ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti posted this aptly titled photograph on social media with the comment: “An aurora in the distance and the Space Station bathed in moonlight.”

In addition to being a valuable member of the Expedition 43 crew and the six-month Futura mission, Samantha can count photography among her many talents.

You can see more of her photos on Samantha’s Flickr page.

Follow Samantha at


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Cargo Ships to Sail From ISS

Expedition 42 crew members Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts during a recent interview.  Image: NASA
Expedition 42 crew members Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti and Terry Virts during a recent interview. Image: NASA

The International Space Station has three cargo ships docked to it. Two of the ships are being prepared for departure.

The SpaceX Dragon ship, currently being loaded with research and gear will leave the ISS on 10 February. The Dragon will be detached from the Harmony module where it is berthed at the ISS by the Canadarm2. The Dragon will re-enter the atmosphere and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off Baja California where it will be retrieved.

The other ship, Europe’s ATV-5 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 5) is being turned into something of a garbage scow. The ATV-5 is being laden with rubbish and unwanted cast off gear and it is scheduled for departure on 14 February. The last ATV resupply ship from Europe will deorbit and incinerate on atmospheric re-entry not long after leaving the station.

A few days after the ATV-5 ends its mission a new cargo ship will launch to the station. This one is a new ISS Progress 58 will leave the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 17 February. The trip up should only take six hours and the ship will dock to the Zvezda module.

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Futura Launch Replay

Here is a replay of yesterday’s beautiful Futura launch as the Soyuz TMA-15M left from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.

Terry Virts of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency join Expedition 42 Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA and Alexander Samoukutyaev and Elena Serova of Roscosmos.

Among the investigations during the mission involves “Space Headaches” which are often caused by intracranial pressure change. The goal is to come up with effective counter measures. Scientists will use biologic samples to determine if immune system impairment increases the risk of infection or poses a health risk aboard the ISS and likely other long duration missions.

Video source


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Futura Ready for Launch

The Futura mission launches in just hours as launch preparations draw to a close and ESA’s Samantha Cristoforetti, Roscosmos’ Anton Shkaplerov and NASA’S Terry Virts board the Soyuz TMA-15M for launch to the International Space Station. One launched, the 274 tonnes of rocket propellant will get the crew at the station in just six hours.

Launch site: Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

Launch time: 21:01 GMT –  23 November 2014

A very nice launch and all is well upon reaching orbit.

Arrival: 24 November at 02:30

Watch this launch LIVE at ESA– coverage begins at 20:00 GMT

I have been following ESA’s Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and you can too:

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Space Walk Tomorrow

ESA’s Alexander Gerst in the Quest airlock of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

The first spacewalk of Expedition 41 is scheduled for tomorrow at 12:10 UT / 08:10 ET.

Flight Engineer Alexander (ESA) and Reid Wiseman (NASA) will exit the International Space Station via the Quest airlock for a marathon 6.5 hour session outside the station for a couple of jobs.

The first job is to move a degraded pump module to the External Stowage Platform 2 something of a warm up for the second task the installation of the Mobile Transporter Relay Assembly.

The Mobile Transporter Relay Assembly provides backup power options to the Mobile Transporter railcar system. That’s the system than moves the Mobile Servicing System’s Canadarm2 and Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator to work sites along the station’s truss.

Robotic support for the spacewalk will be handled by Flight Engineer Barry Wilmore (NASA) in the cupola.

Wilmore too will get to have some extravehicular time too. On 15 October there will be another spacewalk with Wilmore and Wiseman going to the starboard truss to replace a voltage regulator (called a sequential shunt unit) that failed back in May.

Coverage should be available at the NASA TV link at the bottom of the banner above.

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Coming Home

The ISS crew in the light blue: Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev (front to back) are returning home. Image Credit: NASA TV
The ISS crew in the light blue: Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev (front to back) are returning home. Image Credit: NASA TV

Three ISS crew members are getting ready to come home later today. The trio, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are part of the Expedition 39/40 crew. Yesterday Steve Swanson turned command of the ISS over to Max Suraev (Dark shirt in front).

They will undock the Soyuz spacecraft they will use for the return trip at 18:01 ET / 22:01 UT and will land 3.5 hours later in Kazakhastan.

You can see landing coverage beginning at 21:15 ET / 01:15 UT about 15 minutes before the deorbit burn occurs for a 22:23 ET / 02:23 UT landing. Hopefully there will be good video of the landing, sometimes there is and other times not so much.

Hopefully I coverted the times correctly.

I also got a few images of the perigee-moon this morning, then the batteries in the camera went dead. I have new ones charging, been charging all day and still not ready. Hopefully I got one worth sharing.

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