International Space Station and the Power Of Twitter: Stunning Daily Pics from Space Available to All

Images taken from space can take your breath away.  There is something truly amazing in seeing our world from such a distance and understand how beautiful and fragile it is. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a bit of a space celebrity. Some of his hobbies include tweeting back and forth with William Shatner, posting recordings […]
Images taken from space can take your breath away.  There is something truly amazing in seeing our world from such a distance and understand how beautiful and fragile it is. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is a bit of a space celebrity. Some of his hobbies include tweeting back and forth with William Shatner, posting recordings from space on SoudCloud, and even beaming down the occasional video of himself playing the guitar. But the best of his messages from space (at least in our humble opinion) have got to be the photos of Earth he tweets daily from the ISS. He shares a little bit of everything: the webbed lights of cities at night, checkerboard farmland covered in snow, swirling currents deep in the ocean, massive river deltas, and much more. It’s all there for you to browse through on his Twitter feed. Here are a few of our favorites: We highly suggest you take some time to look through his photo archive and see more of the spectacular views the ISS astronauts get each and every day. And keep in mind, these are all captured while traveling about 17,500mph at an altitude of about 250 miles.
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Finally! A chance to tour the International Space Station!

We’ve seen some remarkable photos and videos that look out from the International Space Station but not very many that look in. Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams has spent some 321 days aboard the ISS, as a flight engineer and more recently as a commander of an expedition. She has gone for walkabouts outside and […]
We’ve seen some remarkable photos and videos that look out from the International Space Station but not very many that look in. Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams has spent some 321 days aboard the ISS, as a flight engineer and more recently as a commander of an expedition. She has gone for walkabouts outside and is the first person in the world to do a triathlon in space. In this video, Williams takes us on a tour of the space craft that she has called home for almost a year, showing the different modules, sleeping quarters, kitchens, and orbital outhouses from her perspective.


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Three new residents arrive at International Space Station

The Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft docked at the space station’s rooftop after a two-day orbital chase. Riding on the Soyuz were American astronaut Kevin Ford of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, who are beginning a five-month mission to the space station. “We can see you, everything looks fine,” Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who was […]
The Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft docked at the space station’s rooftop after a two-day orbital chase. Riding on the Soyuz were American astronaut Kevin Ford of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, who are beginning a five-month mission to the space station. “We can see you, everything looks fine,” Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who was already onboard the station, told the approaching crew before the two spacecraft docked about 230 miles (370 km) over southern Ukraine. Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin launched into space on Tuesday (Oct. 23) atop a Soyuz rocket that blasted off from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They are the second half of the space station’s six-person Expedition 33 crew, which is commanded by NASA astronaut Sunita Williams. Malenchenko and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide round out the crew. The Soyuz spacecraft is bringing some fishy friends to the space station in addition to its human crew. The spacecraft is ferrying 32 small medaka fish to the space station so they can be placed inside a tank, called the Aquatic Habitat, for an experiment to study how fish adapt to weightlessness. Thursday’s Soyuz docking at the space station kicks off a flurry of arrivals and departures at the International Space Station. A robotic Dragon space capsule built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX will depart the space station on Sunday (Oct. 28) and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. The Dragon capsule will return nearly 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) of science experiment hardware and other gear back to Earth. On Wednesday (Oct. 31), an unmanned Russian Progress spacecraft will launch toward the space station and arrive six hours later to make a Halloween delivery of food, equipment and other Halloween treats. Williams, Hoshide and Malenchenko are in the final weeks of their mission to the space station, and will return to Earth Nov. 12. At that time, Ford will take command of the space station crew to begin the Expedition 34 mission.
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California space law boosts business, not safety

Private cargo-carrying spacecraft? No problem, but put people on commercial flights and things get messy. Just as NASA set the date for SpaceX’s first official trip to the International Space Station, the firm’s home state of California passed a law lightening company responsibility for the safety of future passengers. No private space firm yet sends crewed flights […]
Private cargo-carrying spacecraft? No problem, but put people on commercial flights and things get messy. Just as NASA set the date for SpaceX’s first official trip to the International Space Station, the firm’s home state of California passed a law lightening company responsibility for the safety of future passengers. No private space firm yet sends crewed flights to space, but that is the plan. The new law treats spaceflight rather like sky-diving, requiring future travellers to give “informed consent”. They agree not to sue the company they fly with if they’re injured or killed in the process. California is the last of the states hosting major contenders in the commercial space race to pass such a law, trailing Virginia, home to Orbital Sciences, New Mexico (Virgin Galactic), and Texas (Blue Origin), which have already done so. The laws may make a state more attractive to space businesses, but without statistics on the safety of commercial flights, travellers sign away their right to sue blindly. However, space tourists may not care: Virgin Galactic, which plans to launch its first crewed flight in 2013, has a roster of passengers who have signed consent agreements. What is your opinion?
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SpaceX Dragon to rendezvous with International Space Station on May 7, 2012

Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, has announced plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on 7 May. SpaceX had originally planned to launch the spacecraft next week, but it postponed the launch to give engineers more time to complete preflight testing and analysis. According to the company, the launch is […]
Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, has announced plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on 7 May. SpaceX had originally planned to launch the spacecraft next week, but it postponed the launch to give engineers more time to complete preflight testing and analysis. According to the company, the launch is set for 6:38am PT, weather permitting, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. If all goes well, SpaceX’s spacecraft will be the first privately built and funded spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station. The goal is for SpaceX to conduct regular commercial cargo missions to the space station. Read more here.


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SpaceX To Make First Commercial Cargo Run To Space Station April 30

The first commercial cargo to the International Space Station will be shipped by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, starting April 30.  If the company is successful, it will be the first time a private spacecraft docks with the space station. “NASA’s International Space Station program, along with our international partners, will take […]
The first commercial cargo to the International Space Station will be shipped by Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, starting April 30.  If the company is successful, it will be the first time a private spacecraft docks with the space station. “NASA’s International Space Station program, along with our international partners, will take a look at the readiness of both station and SpaceX for the mission. If all is go, then SpaceX will be given a green light for an April 30 launch,”NASA officials said. The Dragon capsule will be completely unmanned like the Russian, European and Japanese capsules that currently run supply missions to the space station. SpaceX engineers designed the Dragon capsule to be used multiple times, unlike conventional supply ships which burn up while reentering the atmosphere. Using the Dragon capsule costs NASA per $133 million per delivery, far less than the $300 million it costs just to build a conventional capsule. The Dragon capsule is part of the 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) directive designed to coordinate supply and passenger delivery by private companies to the International Space Station. NASA signed agreements with three companies, but SpaceX is the closest to reaching the space station. Orbital Sciences, another company that is a part of the COTS program, will launch its unmanned spacecraft for the first time later in 2012. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, said he hopes to bring astronauts aboard the Dragon capsule within the next few years, according to Forbes. SpaceX completed its first crew trial on Friday, demonstrating that the capsule could carry either seven crew members or 13,000 pounds (5,900 kilograms) of cargo safely.


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Soyuz Spacecraft Heads For International Space Station

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying a Russian, an American and a Dutchman to the International Space Station blasted off flawlessly from Russia’s launch facility in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. Mission commander Oleg Kononenko and his colleagues, American Don Pettit and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers are to dock with the space station on Friday. The blastoff […]
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying a Russian, an American and a Dutchman to the International Space Station blasted off flawlessly from Russia’s launch facility in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. Mission commander Oleg Kononenko and his colleagues, American Don Pettit and European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers are to dock with the space station on Friday. The blastoff from the snowy launchpad in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, took place without a hitch and the spacecraft reached Earth orbit about nine minutes later. Video from inside the craft showed the three crew members gripping each others’ hands in celebration as the final stage of the booster rocket separated. The three aboard the Russian spacecraft will join three others already on the ISS, NASA’s Dan Burbank and Russians Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin. The six are to work together on the station until March. The launch came amid a period of trouble for Russia’s space program, which provides the only way for crew to reach the space station since the United States retired its space shuttle program in July. The launch of an unmanned supply ship for the space station failed in August and the ship crashed in a Siberian forest. The Soyuz rocket carrying that craft was the same type used to send up Russian manned spacecraft, and the crash prompted officials to postpone the next manned launch while the rockets were examined for flaws. The delayed mission eventually took place on Nov. 14. Just five days before that launch, Russia sent up its ambitious Phobos-Ground unmanned probe, which was to go to the Phobos moon of Mars, take soil samples and return them to Earth. But engineers lost contact with the ship and were unable to propel it out of Earth orbit and toward Mars. The craft is now expected to fall to Earth in mid-January. Last December, Russia lost three navigation satellites when a rocket carrying them failed to reach orbit. A military satellite was lost in February, and the launch of the Express-AM4, described by officials as Russia’s most powerful telecommunications satellite, went awry in August.


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International Space Station Crew Set To Launch To A New Home For The Holidays

Just in time for the holidays, the residents of the International Space Station will welcome three new crew members: Flight Engineer Don Pettit (NASA) Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko (Rosscosmos) Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers (European Space Agency) They are set to launch in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:16 a.m. […]
Just in time for the holidays, the residents of the International Space Station will welcome three new crew members: Flight Engineer Don Pettit (NASA) Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko (Rosscosmos) Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers (European Space Agency) They are set to launch in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 7:16 a.m. CST on Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time). NASA Television will air video of prelaunch activities at 5:45 a.m. and provide live coverage of the launch beginning at 6:30 a.m On Dec. 23, the trio will dock to the Rassvet module of the station at 9:22 a.m. The new crew will join station Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin, who have been aboard the orbital laboratory since mid-November. NASA TV will provide live coverage beginning at 8:45 a.m. Hatch opening and the holiday welcoming ceremony will occur about three hours later.  

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Lunar Honeymoon: Can NASA Really Take Us There Within The Next 10 Years?

We all wonder where NASA’s new space development program will take us.  What kind of technologies will we employ?  What planets will we visit?  What will happen to the International Space Station (ISS)? All these questions and more where answered by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. […]
We all wonder where NASA’s new space development program will take us.  What kind of technologies will we employ?  What planets will we visit?  What will happen to the International Space Station (ISS)? All these questions and more where answered by NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. Here are the key notes.
  • Private researchers and tourists will be able to travel to ISS and other orbital destination (“Vacation All I Ever Wanted!”)
  • An international expedition will set out for a mission to asteroid (earlier plans were used during the filming of “Armageddon”)
  • A new planet containing water, i.e. habitable  will be discovered by The Webb Telescope
  • Every earthquake and tsunami can be predicted way in advance via personal hand held computer device
  • 98 percent of Earth-crossing asteroids are being tracked and cataloged
  • Bases and outposts are being set up on the Moon (Honeymoon anybody?)
You can read more of Ms. Garver’s comments here. How realistic do you think those predictions are?  Please comment below.  

Russia’s Soyuz Crash + US Shuttle Program Retirement= International Space Station Abandoned. How did it come to this?

Last week’s Soyuz crash was just the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps for Russia’s space industry, which is plagued by quality problems and an ageing workforce. With no other way to get astronauts into orbit, the operation of the International Space Station is now in question. The people in the Altai Mountains of Siberia […]
Last week’s Soyuz crash was just the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps for Russia’s space industry, which is plagued by quality problems and an ageing workforce. With no other way to get astronauts into orbit, the operation of the International Space Station is now in question. The people in the Altai Mountains of Siberia (where the crash occurred) are regarded as frugal and tough. In late summer, many live from harvesting berries and cedar nuts. They are also used to having burned-out rocket stages crash in the wilderness after spacecraft launches. When, in the middle of last week, a large ball of fire was seen in the sky above the taiga, residents of the village of Karakoksha were not alarmed.  They apparently just went back to sleep. After a malfunction, a Russian Soyuz rocket had crashed along with an unmanned cargo spacecraft named Progress. The explosion was heard even 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. This accident couldn’t have come at a worst time.  It shuttered public confidence in the aging Russian technology which is crucial to the future of manned spaceflight since NASA shut down the Space Shuttle program in July.  Russia remains the only country that is able to regularly put humans into space. Permanent operation of the International Space Station (ISS) is now impossible without the Soyuz rocket, which went into service in its current form in 1973 and had previously been the most reliable rocket of all time. Until officials figure out what went wrong with Russia’s essential Soyuz rockets, there will be no way to launch any more astronauts before the current residents have to leave in mid-November. Abandoning the space station, even for a short period, would be an unpleasant last resort for the world’s five space agencies that have spent decades working on the project. Astronauts have been living aboard the space station since 2000, and the goal is to keep it going until 2020. Even if the space shuttles still were flying, space station crews still would need Soyuz-launched capsules to serve as lifeboats, Suffredini said. The capsules are certified for no more than 6 1/2 months in space, thus the need to regularly rotate crews. Complicating matters is the need to land the capsules during daylight hours in Kazakhstan, resulting in weeks of blackout periods. NASA wants American private companies to take over crew hauls, but that’s three to five years away at best. Until then, Soyuz capsules are the only means of transporting astronauts to the space station. What is your opinion?  Do you think that International Space Station will be abandoned?


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