Category Archives: ISS

Launch of MS-13 to ISS

Launch time: 16:28 UT / 12:28 ET

Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome

NASA’s Andrew Morgan, Roscosmos’ Alexander Skvortsov and European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano will launch at 12:28 p.m. EDT aboard the Soyuz MS-13 rocket for a six journey journey to the International Space Station.

ISS Crew Returns Home

Welcome home to ISS crew members Oleg Kononenko (Russia), David Saint-Jacques (Canada) and Anne McClain (US).

The trio touched down in Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz capsule on June 24, 2019 (02:47 GMT 25 June).

Aurora From Above

A beautiful image from the International Space Station. Here at mid- latitude the aurora is pretty rare these days; it is solar minimum after all.

If you happen to listen to short wave radio or are an amateur radio operator as I am, one of the hallmarks of an active aurora is the radio transmissions (notably the 20 meter ham band or in the area of 14 MHz) sound like they are in a bottom of a barrel. Really, check it out sometime. So I wonder how things are different from the other side of the aurora.

There are a number of sites to find out what is going on with space weather here’s one: Space Weather Prediction Center.

About the image from NASA: Aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Christina Koch snapped this image of an aurora, saying: “Years ago at the South Pole, I looked up to the aurora for inspiration through the 6-month winter night. Now I know they’re just as awe inspiring from above.

Image Credit: NASA

Commercial Use of ISS

NASA discusses using the International Space Station for commercial business so U.S. industry innovation and ingenuity can accelerate a thriving commercial economy in low-Earth orbit.

I’m not totally sure how I feel about some aspects of this.

See The ISS Fly-Over

Want to see the International Space Station fly overhead? I know many readers look every now and then, however if you have never tried, give it a try. Just check when it will be visible and go out and have a look, providing you have clear skies that is.

NASA’s “Spot The Station“.

I usually look at Heavens-Above and have done so for years with great success.

Eye of the Sahara

As seen from the International Space Station, the “Eye of the Sahara” (I was taught: the Eye of Africa) looks like a mining feature but it is not. It is actually a naturally occurring “dome structure” and is also known as theRichat Structure.

NASA: From an altitude of 255 miles, an Expedition 59 crew member photographed the Richat Structure, or the “Eye of the Sahara,” in northwestern Mauritania. The circular geologic feature is thought to be caused by an uplifted dome—geologists would classify it as a domed anticline—that has been eroded to expose the originally flat rock layers.

Google Map

Image: NASA et al.


This is pretty amazing to say the least:

ESA: Down to the microscopic level, nanoparticles show promising properties. A team of experts in Italy has spent years tailoring tiny inorganic materials and analysing their behaviour. Some have magnetic properties, others are able to give electrical stimuli. In this picture, a peculiar type of nanoparticle is mimicking the biological activity of enzymes in living organisms.

These ceramic particles, called nanoceria, are chemically designed in a laboratory and can display a powerful antioxidant activity. The nanoparticles are highlighted in fluorescent green, while the nucleus of each cell is shown in blue. The skeleton of the cell, or cytoskeleton, appears in red.

These tiny, smart particles could hold a key to fight chronic disease, as they are able to protect organisms from the damage caused by oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell damage. Oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the ageing process, but also in several pathological conditions, such as heart failure, muscle atrophy and Parkinson’s disease.

One way to fight this natural wear is through the intake of antioxidants – cells that can prevent or slow damage to other cells caused by free radicals.

In an experiment flown to the Space Station in 2017 the nanoceria particles remained stable and provided protection to the muscle cells. Nanoceria could act as an antioxidant agent with effects lasting longer than any supplement from the pharmacy – up to several weeks.

Now the Nano Antioxidants project is ready to be launched on the SpaceX’s Dragon supply spacecraft this week from Cape Canaveral, in the United States, towards the International Space Station. Since long-term exposure to microgravity and radiation increases the damage to muscle cells, the Space Station is a perfect scenario in which to study how the cells deteriorate and how to fight this.

Nanotechnology has been largely explored in medicine on Earth, and is now on its way to space to find more answers. This innovative solution will support deep space exploration and could result in novel therapeutic approaches to a number of diseases affecting people on Earth.

Image: Gianni Ciofani

ISS Crossing the Sun

Now THIS is a crossing! Wow, great image. For my attempts and they are not very frequent, something always seems to go awry. Well it is not every day the opportunity comes along. I have a plan though – we will see.

Great job Ian Griffin, the person behind the camera.

ESA caption: Humankind’s most distant outpost was recently captured crossing the face of our enormous and gleaming Sun. The fleeting transit of the International Space Station was over in the blink of an eye, but Ian Griffin, Director at the Otago Museum of New Zealand, made sure he was in the right place to capture it.

“A transit was predicted about 130 km from my home in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island. So, I packed my telescope into my car and drove for approximately 2 hours”, explains Ian.

“On Thursday 31 January, at 11:07 NZDT, the International Space Station crossed the Sun in less time than a human heart beats once, and I was there to witness it”.

The Space Station, slightly larger in size than a football field, orbits Earth every 92 minutes. It is one of the most remarkable endeavours our species has ever embarked upon, yet it pales in comparison to the size and power of our star.

This remarkable spectacle serves as a much needed reminder that the people and technology we send into space can be affected by solar activity, and the changing environment .

One of the largest geomagnetic storms on record, the Carrington event of 1859, was caused as a fast coronal mass ejection associated with an enormous solar flare struck Earth’s magnetosphere. The impact created auroras as far north as Queensland, Australia, and as far south as the Caribbean.

Telegraph systems across Europe and North America failed, with reports of some operators receiving electric shocks and telegraph pylons sending out sparks.

Today, a storm of this magnitude would create far greater disruption, as we become ever-more dependent on infrastructure in space and on Earth that is vulnerable to the outbursts of the Sun.

As part of ESA’s Space Safety & Security activities, the Space Weather Office is working to minimise the potential damage and disruption these events can cause. The future Lagrange mission will keep a constant eye on the Sun, sending timely warnings via the Space Weather Service Network to operators and controllers of vital infrastructure, giving them time to take protective measures.

This early warning system will also be of great importance to astronauts and future explorers to the Moon and Mars, who, vulnerable to the radiation emitted during these extreme events will need time to get to safety.

Demo-1 Docking Replay

Here is a replay of the Crew-Dragon docking to the International Space Station. Thanks to Videosfromspace for the replay.

Hatch Opening. COMPLETE! 12:07 UTC


NASA TV coverage of the historic SpaceX Demo-1 mission.

I had a technical issue but I cleared that up.

The hatch opening is scheduled for 08:30 ET / 13:30 UT.

They are putting Crew-Dragon through it’s paces right now. I like the timing overlay. The image of Crew-Dragon alone in the black is rather surreal.

Two critical steps remain, docking and undocking/return. Scratch docking, we have at least a soft-dock, I have lost audio on two devices. I have captions going on one of them (this feed actually).

I wonder how Ripley enjoyed his flight. Who’s Ripley?

Docking complete! Audio is back too.


Here we have the docking. Fingers crossed for success; funny that implies luck, but luck should not and must not be a factor. I don’t care – good luck SpaceX!


Space to Ground: Femtosatellites. A very good look at what is happening on the International Space Station.