Samantha Cristoforetti is an European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer and polyglot, fluent in Italian, English, German, French and Russian. She is also the first Italian woman in space and cheerfully tweeting and taking photos from the International Space Station.
Astronaut Marsha Ivins describes her experiences: prelaunch, launch, and zero-g: "It’s a mix of the transcendently magical and the deeply prosaic."
Astronaut Chris Hadfield explains how zero gravity makes it possible to take sharp, hand-held long exposures.
“I would give my life to fly in space. It’s hard for me to talk about it but I would. I would then, and I will now.” The terrible injustice of Jerrie Cobb, who deserved to be the first female astronaut, yet never made it to space at all.
It's official, Boeing's CST-100 and Space X's Dragon have been chosen to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017, ending Russia's dominance as the sole provider of rides to the ISS, which they haven't been shy about using for leverage. Meanwhile, develop of the Space Launch System, designed for travel beyond low earth orbit, continues for its maiden launch in 2018. [more inside]
While on ISS, astronaut Reid Wiseman captured and tweeted a picture that captured night time picture of the Gulf of Thailand, including a vast area of green lights, distinct from the white, yellow and orange lights of adjacent cities. Reid wrote "Bangkok is the bright city. The green lights outside the city? No idea… " but others did know: it was many fishing boats with green fishing light attractors. [more inside]
Astronaut Sally Ride and the Burden of Being The First. 'Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, “Is 100 the right number?” She would be in space for a week. “That would not be the right number,” she told them. At every turn, her difference was made clear to her. When it was announced Ride had been named to a space flight mission, her shuttle commander, Bob Crippen, who became a lifelong friend and colleague, introduced her as “undoubtedly the prettiest member of the crew.” At another press event, a reporter asked Ride how she would react to a problem on the shuttle: “Do you weep?”'
Scott Carpenter has died at 88. As the commander of Aurora 7 in 1962, Carpenter was the second Mercury astronaut to orbit the Earth. He is best known for having wished his friend John Glenn "Godspeed" as the latter launched into orbit. [more inside]
Rob Meline always dreamed of being an astronaut. He became a teacher instead. But the beloved faculty member at Camas Prairie Elementary in Spanaway, Washington kept a family secret. When he fell victim to it in October 2012, he became the symbol of a flawed judicial system. What his students did next was out of this world.
"It is made out of velcro-like fabric that lines the Russian food containers [that are] found here on the International Space Station."
A few weeks ago, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano (@astro_luca) almost drowned during a spacewalk when his helmet started uncontrollably filling with water, possibly from a leaky spacesuit cooling system. (See previous MeFi discussion on the incident.) A week later, his fellow ISS astronaut Chris Cassidy posted two videos online showing the actual spacesuit and using it to illustrate the problem. All future US and European spacewalks have been halted while the incident is being investigated, although the Russian ones are continuing, as they use different suits. Yesterday, Luca published a scary new entry on his in-orbit blog, where he not only gave all the horror-movie details, but also revealed that he nearly chose to depressurize his suit outside the ISS in order to survive.
Fifty years ago today, Valentina Tereshkova became the first textile factory worker, first civilian and of course first woman in space. She completed 48 orbits, in the process amassing more space time than any of the American astronauts had logged. It would be almost twenty years before a second female astronaut got into space, slightly more than that for the first American woman. In total, fiftyseven women have flown into space, or roughly ten percent of the total number of astronauts.
The Welsh Space Campaign. The suit is made of the fabric woven in the last remaining wool mills in Wales. The astronaut boots are traditional Welsh clogs crafted by a traditional clog maker. The whole pressure system that will enable the astronaut to sustain life in outer space was built by a Welsh plumber. The aim of the designer is to reveal that Wales has the capacity to explore space, and to show that off-world culturalisation can be achieved through a collective communitarian effort; as a way to allow the people involved to reconsider their role and skill in relation to these cosmic contexts. -- We Make Money Not Art
In 1985, Houston was preparing for a party: 1986 marked the city's 150th birthday, the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Texas, and 25 years since the opening of NASA's Johnson Space Center, the hub around which the city's aerospace industry blossomed. In comes French synthesizer pioneer Jean Michel Jarre, the "composer of the future", known for his spectacular 1979 Bastille Day show that attracted a million people to Place de la Concorde, and for being the first Western musician to play China in 1981. With the Space Shuttle Challenger due to take off on mission STS-51-L in January, Jarre penned a piece for Mission Specialist and saxophonist Ron McNair to record in space. The nation watched as McNair and his crewmates prepared for their journey and waved goodbye, only to perish in a haunting and iconic explosion. As Houston mourned the loss of the seven crew, who called the city home during their preparation for spaceflight, Jarre wasn't sure if the upcoming festivities should be held, but was convinced by astronaut Bruce McCandless that the show must go on. On April 5, 1986, 1.5 million people gathered downtown to witness Rendez-vous Houston, a massive tribute to America's pioneering spirit that used the city as its backdrop. [more inside]
Last fall, the Canadian Space Agency asked students to design a simple science experiment that could be performed in space, using items already available aboard the International Space Station. Today, Commander Chris Hadfield conducted the winner for its designers: two tenth grade students, Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, in a live feed to their school in Fall River, Nova Scotia. And now, we finally have an answer to the age-old question, What Happens When You Wring Out A Washcloth In Space? [more inside]
Commander Chris Hadfield (previously!) and Thomas Marshburn are tweeting photos they are taking from the ISS. [more inside]
Astronaut, and Expedition 33 Commander, Sunita Williams gives a tour of the International Space Station.
Alienation by Graziano Panfili. Aeronauts by Vincent Mattina. Animal astronauts by rubbishmonkey. [First two Via]
Science off the Sphere is a video series by Don Pettit aboard the ISS showing off the neat things you can do in zero-gravity. [more inside]
Dutch astronaut and physician André Kuipers brought his camera aboard the International Space Station and took some photos in his spare time, the results are breathtaking. [more inside]
Auroras Underfoot is a short documentary about auroras by NASA, which uses high-definition images taken by International Space Station science officer Don Pettit of aurora from orbit. Pettit writes about the difficulties of taking photographs from orbit and other subjects on his blog.
NASA is hiring new astronaut candidates. Positions are open for all qualified U.S. citizens. [more inside]
Over 500 people have traveled into outer space. While many have written books about the experience, only a few have used more creative means to express what they saw and felt. Here are a few: [more inside]
First Orbit. "On 12th April 2011 it will be 50 years to the day since Yuri Gagarin climbed into his space ship and was launched into space. It took him just 108 minutes to orbit Earth and he returned as the World's very first space man. To mark this historic flight we have teamed up with the astronauts onboard the International Space Station to film a new view of what Yuri would have seen as he travelled around the planet. Weaving these new views together with historic voice recordings from Yuri's flight and an original score by composer Philip Sheppard, we have created a spellbinding film to share with people around the World on this historic anniversary." [more inside]
32 images of the earth from the blackness of space, many with spacewalking astronauts in the foreground, presented in a Big Picture style. (via) [more inside]
I totally overlooked The American Astronaut (2001) and perhaps others did too? Musician and indie filmmaker Cory McAbee has a history as a huge misshapen head, has been to Reno, been a lounge act for the seedier offworld colonies, been smuggling illegal female embryos for the Jovian mining concerns, & been a father. [more inside]
Space Project from photographer Vincent Fournier. "Playing on the stylised notion of a sci-fi utopia, Fournier’s otherworldly photographs of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and the Atacama Desert Observatories in Chile – alongside a series of surprisingly stringy trainee astronauts - offer an alternative view of the world, unseen by many and known by few."
Year: 2025. Mission: Save Moonbase Alpha after critical systems were damaged by a meteor strike. A free Steam-powered 3D-immersive game from NASA. Windows only.
Crater face: "Astronaut risks life and limb to bring two moon pimples together for love."
José Hernández was a migrant worker when he first started to dream about becoming an astronaut. He is the first astronaut to Twitter in Spanish from space on shuttle mission STS-128. NASA wasn't happy about the controversy he caused when he advocated for the legalization of undocumented immigrants. He is not the first Hispanic-American to fly on the space shuttle. Hernández is a national hero in Mexico and has been invited to dine with President Calderon.
Astronaut Michael Collins – "I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced. The tiny globe would continue to turn, serenely ignoring its subdivisions, presenting a unified façade that would cry out for unified understanding, for homogeneous treatment. The earth must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied."
Astronaut Mike Massimino is twittering his experiences today, as he undergoes preparations for launch to the Hubble Space Telescope. He is supposed to keep up the updates during the entire mission.
The environment does terrible things to the human body and it smells. Many people go for that walk anyway. [more inside]
Astronaut Candidate Program. "The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announces the opportunity to apply for the position of Astronaut Candidate to support the International Space Station (ISS) Program." [more inside]
Astronaut Sunita Williams (more links to pictures on the bottom right hand corner) returns to her ancestral hometown of Ahmedabad, India, after breaking multiple records in Space, where she stayed for a duration of 194 days, ran the Boston Marathon, and Space Walked for 22 hours and 27 minutes.
Even Astronauts Commit Suicide. Former Navy doctor, astronaut and Space Shuttle mission specialist, ham radio operator, and one time flight surgeon of The Blue Angels, Dr. Chuck Brady, was denied a hip replacement by the Navy shortly before he took his own life in July, 2006, and, according to his friend Dr. Ed Drum, this was a pivotal point in the depression that led Dr. Brady to apparently take his own life. [more inside]
RIP Wally Schirra, 1923-2007. One of the original Mercury Seven "Right Stuff" astronauts (just two left now), Schirra flew on Sigma 7, Gemini 7, and Apollo 7. From there on, it's stationkeeping.
Max Q, named after the aeronautical engineering term, is the only astronaut rock band (but not the only musical astronauts). Not to be confused with the barbershop quartet.
Astronaut charged with kidnap attempt. It's current, it's for real, and each paragraph is weirder than the last.
Have you ever wondered what cosmonauts eat? What ISS astronauts do all day? What we can see from orbit? Ed Lu, The first American to launch and land on a Soyuz spacecraft, kept what is arguably the first space blog while spending an 184 days on the International Space Station with cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko in 2003.
LBJ and the helium filled astronaut. In 1964, the Skylab project wanted to send a phone call to the president. They had a hard time convincing the operators to put the call through. (g2 real audio link from npr) But today, 2 college students in florida discovered that helium can be dangerous.
Ignition sequence starts ... A spoken word documentary album of the flight of Apollo 11 to the moon. Dramatic - evocative - the right stuff. Provided by Hepcat Willy.
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