Friday Links

Down To Earth

The citizens of South Texas near Brownsville really want that SpaceX spaceport!

This should be interesting. An experimental “green” thruster to be tested on ISS. 100 lbf is no small potatoes. We will have to think carefully about how these tests will affect attitude control.

Don’t forget to look for the annular solar eclipse on Sunday!

Speaking of the Sun, here’s a shot of China’s Tiangong-1 space station transiting the Sun.

Space Shuttle Enterprise was “grounded” for the final time.

In Orbit

We’re all very excited to have a new crew aboard ISS. Expedition 31 is well underway!

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Among the 30S crew is Gennady Padalka making his fourth spaceflight. As you can see on Wikipedia (under “Total time in space”), Gennady is already 6th for most time in space! With this flight, I would expect Gennady to reach 700 days in space and be in 4th place. Andre got a shot of him looking pretty happy to be there…

[blackbirdpie url=”!/astro_andre/statuses/203380455523885056″]

What’s also cool is that Gennady and Andre launched together on Soyuz TMA-4 in 2004 (but they did not share an Expedition or land together because Andre was one of the “rotating” crew members who only stayed in space briefly, switching Soyuz).

The video of Soyuz final approach below is not that exciting visually, but I like some of the color commentary from the Russians: “You must have ice in your veins”.

The new Soyuz crew brought a stereo camera from a Russian news agency with the intent of making 3D videos of life on ISS.

If all goes well, Dragon will launch tomorrow! Here’s a press release about the cargo Dragon is carrying. No “mission critical items”.

I already posted yesterday about the busy week we’ve had and some of the GPS receiver problems on the ISS, but here’s a video where the GPS issue is discussed in the first few minutes, if you want more.

Don Pettit muses on his “address in space“. He also explains the complexities of how we number our missions on ISS.

Sir Elton John and Expedition 30/31 astronaut Andre Kuipers have been exchanging messages on the 40th anniversary of the single Rocket Man.

I wish NASA PAO would talk more about these interactions between famous musicians and the ISS. Such is life. But at least NASA is seeking to record a song. Neat.

Because it’s Cool

If all the water on Earth were a sphere.

An interesting “river” on the Moon…. okay it’s probably a lava tube.

Just for fun, here’s some ISS timelapse photography put to the song Walking in the Air (any other metal heads out there? I like the Nightwish version).

I kind of thought this video below was a bit over-dramatic with the music. But it’s a unique take on PR so it’s worth watching (via Bad Astronomy).

May 18, 2012 8:33 am

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