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The ISS in all its glory.  Credit: NASA

STS-119: A Mission in Pictures

29 Mar , 2009

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If this isn’t one of the most breathtaking space pictures ever, I don’t know what is. It’s the ISS at its full and final length, with all four sets of solar arrays unfurled, against the limb of Earth. The STS-119 mission successfully did its job of bringing up and installing the final set of solar array wings, giving the ISS the “finished” look we’ve all been waiting for. There are a few more modules to bring up, but none so big as the solar arrays. And now the space station is the second brightest object in the night sky, second only to the Moon. Click on the image to download a hi-resolution version.

Space shuttle Discovery returned home on Saturday, March 28 landing at 3:14 pm EDT. The weather and winds cooperated, allowing the spacecraft to land on the second opportunity of the day. Enjoy more images from the highly successful mission below.

Astronaut Richard Arnold during an EVA. Credit: NASA

Astronaut Richard Arnold during an EVA. Credit: NASA


An astronaut at work. Ricky Arnold, STS-119 mission specialist, works outside the space staton during the mission’s third extravehicular activity (EVA), doing a few construction and maintenance tasks during the six-hour, 27-minute spacewalk.
A view during the 3rd EVA of STS-119. Credit: NASA

A view during the 3rd EVA of STS-119. Credit: NASA


This is a great image that makes you appreciate how big the space station is. Ricky Arnold (right) and Joseph Acaba worked during the third EVA of the mission to help robotic arm operators relocate the Crew Equipment Translation Aid (CETA) cart from the Port 1 to Starboard 1 truss segment, lubricated the space station’s robotic arm and performed a few other “get ahead” tasks.
John Phillips flies through the ISS. Credit: NASA

John Phillips flies through the ISS. Credit: NASA


I think almost everyone dreams of doing this: flying. But this was no dream for astronaut John Phillps — he really was flying through the ISS. It sure looks like fun!
Crews of the ISS and STS-119.  Credit: NASA

Crews of the ISS and STS-119. Credit: NASA

Group photo of the crews from the ISS and STS-119. From the left (bottom row) are NASA astronauts Tony Antonelli, STS-119 pilot; Lee Archambault, STS-119 commander; and Joseph Acaba, STS-119 mission specialist. From the left (middle row) are NASA astronauts Sandra Magnus, STS-119 mission specialist; and Michael Fincke, Expedition 18 commander; along with cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut (JAXA) Koichi Wakata, both Expedition 18 flight engineers. From the left (top row) are NASA astronauts Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and John Phillips.
Discovery appoaches the ISS. Credit: NASA

Discovery appoaches the ISS. Credit: NASA


Here’s a nice image of the space shuttle approaching the space station, backdropped by a blue and white Earth, as the shuttle gets ready for rendezvous and docking with the ISS.
Touchdown!  Credit: NASA

Touchdown! Credit: NASA


Commander Lee Archambault nails the landing as Discovery touches down on the runway at Kennedy Space Center.
The STS-119 crew post landing.  Credit: NASA

The STS-119 crew post landing. Credit: NASA


Discovery crew members spoke after the landing on Saturday, and after the traditional walk-around of the spaceshuttle. Commander Lee Archambault introduced five of the seven members of the STS-119 mission crew. Ricky Arnold remained in the crew quarters, as well as returning ISS crewmember Sandy Magnus, taking things a little slower after her 130-day stint in space.

More images of the mission are available in our previous article, and find all the mission images at NASA’s Human Spaceflight webpage. Here’s another article that has a video of the ISS as the shuttle Discovery departed last week.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jorge
Guest
March 29, 2009 10:39 AM

WOW! That first image is an absolute stunner! What an amazing bit of beauty only possible by science and technology!

Of course, it’s now my desktop image. That pretty much goes without saying.

Nancy Atkinson
Guest
March 29, 2009 10:44 AM

It’s on my desktop, too, Jorge!

Phantom
Guest
Phantom
March 29, 2009 10:49 AM

Wow! The first one is beautiful, as well as these stunning High-Definition videos:
http://www.astroversum.nl/nieuws/29032009/hd-video-lancering-en-landing-van-shuttle-discovery/

DrFlimmer
Guest
DrFlimmer
March 29, 2009 11:08 AM

The first one reminds me of the “flying spaghetti monster”. Strange, but somehow…. wink

ND
Guest
ND
March 29, 2009 11:36 AM

Hey, one of those astronauts has grey hair and looks like a postman. There is hope for the rest of us yet!

Harry Potter
Guest
Harry Potter
March 29, 2009 12:41 PM

I thought they were clips on the laundry grin

BlueAmberol
Member
BlueAmberol
March 29, 2009 2:08 PM

I’ve never bothered to look for the ISS. I’ll have to take a look.
The first satellite I saw was Sputnik 1 (booster) 48 hours after it was launched.
The Echo satellites were fun to watch.
I’m getting old now and I wait for warmer weather. Real nice now, over 80 degrees.

BlueAmberol
Member
BlueAmberol
March 29, 2009 2:35 PM

My favorite thing that I have watched was the Apollo 8 broadcast from lunar orbit.

duff08
Member
duff08
March 29, 2009 2:57 PM

does someone have a high res version of the first picture?

Nancy Atkinson
Guest
March 29, 2009 3:14 PM

duff– go to the link at the end from NASA’s Human Spaceflight website, and all the images are available in hi res.

Nancy Atkinson
Guest
March 29, 2009 3:41 PM

Ok, due to popular demand, just click on the first image to download a hi-res version. Same with the second one, too, of Ricky Arnold on EVA.

Sofia
Guest
Sofia
March 29, 2009 4:39 PM

Beaurifull images Nancy !

Layman
Guest
Layman
March 29, 2009 4:41 PM

If you zoom in on the faceplate in hi-res- you can see the reflection of the other astronaut taking this picture- Neat stuff-

Marco
Member
March 29, 2009 4:41 PM

The ISS has never been my favorite project. I think that the money could have been better spent on other space projects. That said, the ISS takes and provides stunning photograhps. That first one should be an instant iconic photo. It is simply beautiful. What a wonderful combination of man’s technology and the natural universe. To anyone who thinks that money spent on the space program overall is wasted, I say it has been and will continue to be the best way to waste money that I can think of.

Astrofiend
Member
Astrofiend
March 29, 2009 8:11 PM

Wow – that first image is a stunner. Very art.

pguttman
Member
March 29, 2009 11:00 PM

I agree, a stunner! Makes one appreciate just how thin our Earth’s atmosphere really is!

EagleUK
Member
EagleUK
March 29, 2009 11:06 PM

Does anyone know what the three small objects to the left of the ISS are in the first image?

harrybody
Guest
March 30, 2009 7:50 AM

I believe I’ve seen quite a few pictures from ISS over and around the earth. But wonder what the blue ring around the earth are, and that I, apparently is the only one, who is wondering about this phenomena. does anyone have an explanation?

NathanialBB
Member
NathanialBB
March 30, 2009 1:26 AM

Hi Steve –

Having opened the image in photoshop, and ramped up the light levels, I’d say that the three small ‘objects’ are reflections in the orbiter window, through which the image was taken…

Of course I could be wrong ; )

Nathanial

Nancy Atkinson
Guest
March 30, 2009 8:36 AM

harrybody- its Earth’s atmosphere, backlit by the sun.

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