Posts Tagged International Space Station

Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds Ken Perrott May 15

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Many people have probably just become aware of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in the last week because of his musical video Space Oddity that went viral.

It might be hard to find anyone who has not watched that video. However, Hadfield has starred in many videos from the International Space Station – sometimes singing but more often introducing viewers to interesting facts about living in a zero gravity environment.

This video is a very short (90 seconds) mashup of some of these.

Houston, We Have A Viral Video – Chris Hadfield In Space

Thanks to Chris Hadfield’s 5-month Space Mission in 90 Seconds – Ontario Stargazing.

Video coverage of astronauts’ return to earth next Tuesday morning Ken Perrott May 10

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UPDATE: Woops! Sorry, I confused the time conversions. The correct NZ times are now present in bold.

It’s all go aboard the International Space Station at the moment. An external ammonia link was found today (see NASA: Space station power system radiator leaking). This is connected to power systems and steps are changes are being made to isolate its effects.

Meanwhile three of the cosmonauts/astronauts will be returning to earth early next week. Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Tom Marshburn of NASA and Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will undock their Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft from the station on Tuesday May 14 NZT (7:08 p.m. EDT May 13), heading for a landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan southeast of Dzhezkazgan at 10:31 p.m. EDT (8:31 a.m. Kazakh time, May 14). They will have spent 146 days in space since their Dec. 19 launch from Kazakhstan.

Chris Hadfield, a Canadian, has been very actively photographing the earth – different countries and cities, and sending the photos out to social media via Twitter. He’s also done a lot of communication via video links to schoolchildren and other audiences. Hopefully the remaining cosmonauts/astronauts, and the new arrivals will make efforts  continue such communication.

The Canadian Space Agency will mark the landing with a “Tweetup” at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Quebec. This will include live video coverage of the landing.


Photo: Canadian Space Agency/Chris Hadfield

Activities connected with the departure of the Soyuz craft and its landing can be following live on NASA TV. Coverage will begin Sunday, May 12 EDT, with the change of command ceremony between Hadfield and Vinogradov. Coverage will continue May 13 and 14 EDT with Expedition 35 landing and post-landing activities.

  • NASA TV’s full coverage schedule is as follows (I have included both NZT and EDT):
  • Sunday, May 12, 3:40 p.m. EDT  — Expedition 35/36 change of command ceremony
  • Monday, May 13, 3:30 p.m. EDT 11:30 p.m. NZT– Farewells and hatch closure (hatch closure scheduled at 3:50 p.m. EDT, 7:50 a.m. Tuesday 14 NZT)
  • 6:45 p.m Monday, EDT. 10:45 a.m. Tuesday 14 NZT. — Undocking (undocking scheduled at 7:08 p.m. [11.08 a.m Tuesday 14 NZT])
  • 9:15 p.m. Monday EDT. 1:15 p.m. Tuesday 14 NZT — Deorbit burn and landing (deorbit burn scheduled at 9:37 p.m. EDT [1.37 p.m Tuesday 14 NZT], landing scheduled at 10:31 p.m. EDT [2.31 p.m. Tuesday 14 NZT]).
  • There will also be later video coverage of post landing activities.

A sombre night in Boston Ken Perrott Apr 16

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Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) tweeted the above picture today from the International Space Station. As he wrote – “A somber Spring night in Boston.”

Boston Marathon bombings

I think it demonstrates the sort of high-tech world we now live in – high connectivity, immediate information transfer and amazing technology. We have astronauts in near earth orbit tweeting condolences and images in  response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon. But the bombs themselves probably also relied on the technology of cell phones for their detonation, even though they may have been relatively primitive devices themselves. On the other hand, authorities quickly closed down cell phone communication – maybe preventing further detonations. And they are investigating records of cell tower transmissions – hopefully this will give them leads enabling rapid arrest of the perpetrators.

Technology – it’s a mixed bag. It can be used for evil as well as good.

Empathise with victims of terror everywhere

The other thought this atrocity evokes in me is that our technology and culture seems to restrict our empathy to the “first world.” The world we see everyday on our TVs. Inevitably we wear cultural blinkers.

What happened in Boston today happens regularly in a number of “third world” countries, and we hardly hear about those events. Meetings, markets, churches, mosques and other places humans gather together are regularly bombed in a number of “third world” countries. Just in the last few days dozens of people were murdered in Iraq in this way. Wedding parties are bombed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sometimes these people are “collateral damage” -  victims of invading or intervening countries committing acts of war. More often they are people purposely targeted in terrorist acts committed for religious, ethnic or ideological reasons.

Whatever – innocent people around the world are regularly killed in such hateful attacks – and we hardly notice. So, while I react with an understandable grief and anger at the shocking waste of life and widespread injuries in Boston today, these feelings are tinged with guilt.

I felt the same way when I reacted to the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. Even today, when I hear or read the term “9/11″ I inevitably think of another “9/11″ – the bloody coup which overthrew democracy in Chile on September 11, 1973. A coup which lead to the torture and murder of thousands of Chileans.

No, I am not critiquing people for this inevitable cultural blindness. I just wish the great technology we now have would do more to make us realise we are all in this together. That it would more quickly break down the cultural barriers which cause this blindness.

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Christchurch from space Ken Perrott Mar 28


This recent photo of Christchurch from Chris Hadfield now on board the International Space Station appealed to me. It seems to have quite wide coverage – but here it is for readers who have not yet come across it. (Click to enlarge).

BGE9l1rCUAANiIT.jpg large

Hadfield’s comment accompanying the Twitter of his photo said:

“Christchurch, NZ, taken just after Earth Hour ended. The perfect grid system of the downtown core is clearly visible.”

Our world from the International Space Station Ken Perrott Mar 19

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Photo by Chris Hadfield / NASA: Lake Baikal, Siberia. Immensely old and deep, it holds one-fifth of all the Earth’s fresh water. 26 Feb 2013, 7:31 PM (Click photo to enlarge)

Anyone following Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) on Twitter will have seen some of his gorgeous photos taken from the International Space Station (ISS). Somebody should collect them together so we can browse them.

Well, someone has done that with photos taken by Hadfield and other members of the ISS crew. Have a look at the web site Our World From The ISS or click the screen image below.


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Amazing photos of Shuttle Endeavour flight deck Ken Perrott Jan 14

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I have enjoyed watching live the launches and landing of the manned space vehicles going to, and coming from, the International Space Station.

The Shuttle launches were always dramatic. The gliding landings of the Shuttle and the parachute assisted landing of the Soyuz vehicles had their own suspense. But something I really missed was on-board video of the astronauts during Shuttle launches and landings.

In contrast we always got views of the three cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz craft during launching. But very rarely anything showing the far more complex flight deck of the Shuttles. I suspect this had something to do with secret technology.

So it was great to find these great photos of the flight deck of the Space Shuttle Endeavour (see Amazing! Must See Shuttle Flight Deck Photos). This was fully powered for one of the last times before it was retired.


Click to enlarge

Another view -  just imagine having to know what all those switches and knobs did!


See also: Best Photos of 2012: Spaceflight

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Atlantis returns home — viewed from ISS Ken Perrott Jul 22

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This is a time exposure taken from the International Space Station (ISS). It shows the plasma trail of Atlantis as it travelled through the atmosphere on its final return from orbit.

Thanks to NASA – Station Crew Views Shuttle Landing.

Something to celebrate Ken Perrott Apr 05

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"Our Rocket is all set on the launchpad that Yuri Gagarin launched from 50 years ago." – Ron Garan. Photo credit Jake Garan

US Astronaut, Ron Garan, is spending today travelling on board a Russian Soyuz vehicle up to  the Inernational Space Station for a 5 ½ month stint. He finished his last post at his blog, FRAGILE OASIS, before the launch with this (see Last Blog Post On Earth. For Now.):

In the words of Yuri Gagarin as he left the launch pad on that historic day, Поехали ’WE’RE OFF!’

The historical significance is that this launch occurs on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight by Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin – April 12, 1961. And from the same Baikonur Cosmodrome used for Gagarin’s launch. Garan talks about this historic event and some of the traditioons that have grown up around manned space lauches. (For example, every astronaut and Cosmonaut since Gagarin plants a tree before launch).

I remember Gagarin’s flight well. There was understandably far more interest in manned space flight then than there is now. It was certainly an historic event.

So I will be celebrating this anniversary – and hope many others will too. Especially children and students – but anyone interested in or appreciative of science. This event is usually called Yuri’s Night (see below).

Talking about scientific celebrations – Tim Handorf sent me a link to the 20 Best Holidays for Science Geeks. It’s a list of dates for celebration. Great for teachers and parents wishing to cultivate an interest in science among their children.

Here’s the list of suggestions:

  1. Kid Inventor Day (January 17): Initiated in honor of Benjamin Franklin’s creation of swim flippers at age 12, this holiday commemorates kids and teens who put their minds to innovative designs. Teachers will especially find the day an excellent excuse for challenging their students’ creativity and science skills.
  2. Create a Vacuum Day (February 4th): Although the details of Create a Vacuum Day’s inception remain obscured, nobody can deny its value to science buffs with a flair for quirky celebrations. One of the easiest ways to honor such an illustrious date is sucking an egg into a bottle using a match. Science!
  3. National Inventors’ Day (February 11): There’s little limit to what can be done to celebrate National Inventors’ Day, especially for teachers. Those without the time to sit down and try to invent something can easily find some creative ways to homage some of their favorite creators and creations.
  4. Darwin Day (February 12): Evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin’s birthday provides a cause celebre for science buffs, humanists and everyone else who considers her- or himself a fan of his revolutionary work. Check the website for eclectic events nearby or put forth the time and resources to organize one.
  5. Pi Day (March 14): Math and science geeks revel in Pi Day by eating pie, hitting up lectures, playing with problems and other deliciously nerdy activities. Appropriately enough, festivities are always held on March 14th.
  6. Bunsen Burner Day (March 31): The man who invented one of science’s most useful tools, Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, was born on March 31, 1811. For his contributions to myriad fields, most especially chemistry, many enjoy commemorating Bunsen’s birthday with activities involving the eponymous device.
  7. Yuri’s Night (April 12): Anyone fascinated with astronomy should check for any Yuri’s Night events happening in their area on April 12 – or plan one of their own if there isn’t! These celebrations honor astronaut Yuri Gagarin’s historical first space travels aboard Vostok I.
  8. Earth Day (April 22): Scientists and non-scientists both celebrate this incredibly popular holiday, which works tirelessly to promote environmental awareness beyond once a year. With so many ways to participate, either alone or in a group, green aficionados are never lacking when Earth Day rolls around.
  9. International Day for Biodiversity (May 22): This holiday is recognized by the United Nations and means to promote cleaner, healthier environments and preservation initiatives. Plenty of events big and small occur in commemoration of world biodiversity, so anyone who loves botany and zoology has few reasonable excuses for missing out.
  10. Meteor Watch Day (June 30): Whip out the telescope or binoculars and look towards the sky for any interesting astronomical phenomena on Meteor Watch Day. Even if no “shooting stars” pass across the lenses, it still makes for an excellent excuse to explore the heavens’ rich bounty.
  11. System Administrator Appreciation Day (Last Friday in July): IT specialists oftentimes work thankless, stressful positions that many people they assist often take for granted. While they deserve love and appreciation every day, use the last Friday in July to do something particularly special.
  12. Protect Your Groundwater Day (Second Tuesday of September): Another great holiday for science buffs and environmentalists alike, this relatively new creation of the National Groundwater Association hopes to inspire homeowners, municipalities and businesses to pay closer attention to the eponymous liquid. The website offers up some suggestions for promoting it and what can be done to take personal action.
  13. National Public Lands Day (Last Saturday of September): Enjoy the nice fall weather while simultaneously doing something great for the community – and the planet! Even those who live in urban environments can still participate by cleaning up litter or beautifying parks and public gardens.
  14. Powers of Ten Day (October 10): For math and science geeks alike, Powers of Ten Day provides a plethora of neat ways to explore base 10. Schools especially find neat ways to entertain kids of all ages while simultaneously educating them on an essential numerical principle.
  15. National Fossil Day (October 13): One need not be a paleontologist, biologist or geologist to get into the relatively new National Fossil Day festivities! Use the time to dig or promote the importance of finding, keeping and preserving the lands where these ancient structures are found.
  16. World Statistics Day (October 20): All scientific disciplines require the use of statistics at some point or another, so professionals, students and hobbyists alike looking for an excuse to party it up Tesla-style might want to consider celebrating its officially designated holiday. Like most of the holidays listed here, the event possibilities are 99.99% limitless.
  17. National Mole Day (October 23): From 6:02 AM to 6:02 PM, science and math aficionados commemorate Avogadro’s Number with a wide variety of different chemistry and mole activities. They’re really only limited by their imaginations!
  18. World Science Day for Peace and Development (November 10): This amazing holiday’s main thrust is quite obviously wrapped up in its title. UNESCO created it in order to promote the amazing potential science holds to keep humanity as harmonious as possible while simultaneously getting its basic needs met.
  19. Computer Security Day (November 30): The official website for Computer Security Day doesn’t update much, but that doesn’t mean celebrants can’t go out and party. However, most events held mean to educate people on the ins and outs of keeping their machines as safe from invasion as possible.
  20. International Observe the Moon Night (Various): NASA and other astronomical organizations urge participants around the world to take some time to contemplate the moon through telescopes, binoculars, videos, lectures and more. A relatively new holiday, International Observe the Moon Night has fallen on different months of the year since its beginnings. Be sure to check the websites for the new dates as well as any cool local events.

Thanks to Tim Handorf and Best colleges OnLine.

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See also: Yuri Gagarin’s Klushino: Forgotten home of space legend

New views of eclipses Ken Perrott Jan 07

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There’s been a few eclipses lately. Here’s some photos showing a different perspective of eclipses.

This one was one of 1999 August 11 solar eclipse was one of the last ever taken from the Mir space station. The two bright spots that appear on the upper left are thought to be Jupiter and Saturn. Mir was deorbited in a controlled re-entry in 2001.

And another one by Thierry Legault of the partial eclipse seen in Europe a few days ago. With a silhouette of the International Space Station. As Astronomy Picture of the Day says this photo captured “planet Earth’s two largest satellites against the bright solar disk”

Thanks to Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Wine and the Watchtower Ken Perrott Dec 23

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This photo has always impressed me. A fantastic view from the International Space Station. Locals will recognise our prime wine growing areas of the Wairarapa, Blenhiem, Nelson, Waipara and Canterbury.

It also reminds me – I saw some god botherers in our street the other day. They stand out like a sore thumb, don’t they?

However, they must have got the message. They seem to have stopped knocking on my door.

Thanks to Pundit Kitchen: Would You Like A Copy Of The Watchtower?!

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