Category Archives: ISS

Cosmic Ray Detector Heading to ISS

The mystery of cosmic rays will be explored in a new detector to be launched to the International Space Station.

The detector is called CREAM short for the Cosmic Ray Energetics And Mass mission. The CREAM detectors have flown before on balloons as far back as 2004 and 2016 at altitudes of around 35 km (120,000 feet) so the technology is not new. This time around being at the ISS, the detector will be able to measure the highest energy cosmic rays so far.

Cosmic rays are constantly raining down on Earth mostly from outside our solar system. Most any astrophotographer has seen evidence of cosmic rays at white pixel anomalies in their photographs.

The launch date: 14 August 2017
More information on CREAM and cosmic rays.

200 Spacewalks at the ISS

This is video of the 200th spacewalk in support of the International Space Station since 1998!

This was the ninth space walk for Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and the first for Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA. Whitson now has the third most hours on spacewalks, congratulations Peggy.

The pair replaced an avionics box responsible for routing power and data commands to experiments on the orbital outpost. In addition to that work, the two spacewalkers installed a data cable for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and a new high definition camera on the station’s truss.

Looking at Home

Wow, very nice look homeward for Thomas Pesquet aboard the International Space Station.  He called it  “Europe by night, under clear skies is a carpet of lights!”.

ESA:  Thomas’ Proxima mission is the ninth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut. It is named after the closest star to the Sun, continuing a tradition of naming missions with French astronauts after stars and constellations.

During Proxima, Thomas will have performed around 50 scientific experiments for ESA and France’s space agency CNES as well as take part in many research activities for the other Station partners. The mission is part of ESA’s vision to use Earth-orbiting spacecraft as a place to live and work for the benefit of European society while using the experience to prepare for future voyages of exploration further into the Solar System.


Launch Day 1

If all goes well today will be the first of two launches to the International Space Station  this week, today and Thursday.

Today it is the launch of the Orbital ATK and the S.S John Glenn cargo ship for a resupply mission to the ISS.  This will be Orbital’s seventh mission to the ISS.

Launch time is set for 15:11 UTC / 11:11 EDT and there is a 90 percent chance for favorable weather.  Be sure to come back for the launch which will be live, and could be one of those 360 degree videos where you can move the mouse around.  If it works.  This is the first time this type of video has been tried.

You probably noticed the “S.S John Glenn”, this spacecraft has been named in the late John Glenn’s honor.

The video will post about 15 minutes before launch.



Coming Home – Replay

The replay:

The still image provided by NASA TV is the moment of touchdown. The image (and video) comes from the long range tracking camera.

What a ride that must be. Great video too, quite a parachute. I’ll put up a replay when it becomes available.

Currently I am waiting for reports on the crew.  Crew is doing just fine!  So all is well.

Losing a Blanket

Footage of the blanket that got away from astronauts this week.

After 173 days in space, Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Flight Engineers Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos will depart the space station in a Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft at 0900 UT / 0400 EDT and land in Kazakhstan at 1220 UT / 0720 ET / 19:20 Kazakhstan time.

I will put a link in for the undocking coverage tomorrow morning.

Space Station Upgrades

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:

The Dragon Departs

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.