Imagine it, history in the making as the International Space Station prepares to play its part to allow science fiction to become reality.
Here’s part of the EVA where Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA connect a Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 (PMA-3) to the Harmony module to facilitate the addition of an International Docking Adapter to PMA-3 to which U.S. commercial crew spacecraft will link up to in the (not very distant) future:
Here is a replay of the Space X Dragon cargo ship departing the International Space Station. The cargo ship was released at about 05:11 EDT / 09:11 UTC (if my time conversion is correct).
The Dragon will NOT burn up in the atmosphere as some ships do. The returning 5,400 + Lb / 2,450 + kg payload includes samples from a variety of scientific experiments.
The thrusters on Dragon will fire at around 10:00 EDT / 14:00 UTC commencing a deorbit burn which will send the ship into the Pacific Ocean 54 minutes later where it will be retrieved and returned by recovery teams.
As far as I know there will be no live coverage of the splashdown and recovery, however there could be video after the fact.
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”
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.