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Easter was a great time for space nerds.

I certainly enjoyed myself. Got to see several passes of the International Space Station (ISS). Once you know the times it’s easy to find. These days it is so bright – and of course it’s moving. Have a look at Heavens Above. Register and enter your location. It’s easy to check at any time when the most favourable passes will be.

It is moving to think that humans are on board the moving speck of light.  Last week there were 3, now there are 13. Four of them women. This is the largest number of women in orbit at any one time.

Last Friday two Russian Cosmonauts and and a US astronaut were launched from Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz Capsule. On Monday seven astronauts were launched from Florida in a shuttle. These launches are always impressive. The video coverage of the shuttle launch included shots of an overflight of the ISS 20 minutes before the launch. Soichi Noguchi, one of the astronaughts on baord the ISS had taken this photo of the launch site several hours previously.

Soichi Noguchi is a keen twitterer (Astro_Soichi) and photographer. He regularly sends photos of cities and locations the ISS passes over. Have a look at some of his photos on Twitpic. Here’s a recent time exposure he took of an aurora.

There will only be three more shuttle launches before the fleet is retired. Pity, I would really have loved to see a launch in person. Everyone who has can’t stop raving about it, they are so impressive. Guess I will just have to make do with the video streaming. NASA broadcasts these, as well as the Soyuz launches in real time (see NASA TV).

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