As the crew of the STS-128 mission pack up and prepare to get ready to undock from the International Space Station on Tuesday, it’s time to look back at the very successful mission that worked on space station construction. Here’s some of the best images of the mission.
Above, ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang works (and waves) during the third and final EVA of the mission. Fuglesang and NASA astronaut John “Danny” Olivas installed several items and did work to prepare for the installation of Node 3, which will take place next year.
Heavy lifting in space. Credit: NASA
Here’s Fuglesang again, doing a little heavy lifting during the first EVA of the mission while anchored to the Canadarm2’s foot restraint. He’s carrying a new Ammonia Tank Assembly which was installed on the P-1 Truss. The old empty tank, attached to the arm, will be brought back home in the space shuttle’s payload bay, and refurbished and reused.
New ammonia tank installed. Credit: NASA
Here’s where the new Ammonia Tank Assembly was installed on the P-1 Truss. Danny Olivas is shown here putting the final touches on the first spacewalk activities.
New freezer installed in the ISS. Credit: NASA
Meanwhile, inside the ISS astronauts installed a new Minus Eighty Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) rack in the Destiny laboratory. Will the ISS residents now be feasting on astronaut ice cream? This freezer can maintain a temperature of -80 degrees Celsius to preserve biological and medical specimens until they can be brought back to Earth. Shown here are Fuglesang (top foreground) and Tim Kopra (background), Kevin Ford (left foreground).
Nicole Stott during an EVA. Credit: NASA
Here, Nicole Stott works during the first EVA. In addition to adding the new Ammonia Tank Assembly, Stott and Olivas retrieved the European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF) and Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) from outside the Columbus laboratory module and installed them on Discovery’s payload bay for return to Earth. Stott will stay on board the ISS for Expedition 20 and 21.
Part of the ISS backdropped by the limb of Earth. Credit: NASA
Beautiful! Part of the ISS is shown against the blackness of space and Earth’s horizon in this image photographed by one of the astronauts during the second EVA.
View on Danny Olivas' helmet. Credit: NASA
I love these visor-reflection images, and this one is especially good. Danny Olivas used his digital still camera to take a picture of his own helmet visor during the second EVA. Visible in the reflections are various components of the station, along with Christer Fuglesang anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint.
Preparing tools for EVA. Credit: NASA
Every handyman loves tools, and NASA’s EVA tools top them all. Danny Olivas checks out a pistol grip power tool, getting it ready for use during the third EVA of the mission. Olivas participated in all three spacewalks.
Earth and Moon from space. Credit: NASA
How much clearer is the view of the Moon without having to look through the atmosphere? Here, a gibbous moon is visible above Earth’s atmosphere, photographed by one of the STS-128 crew during flight day three.
Olivas flexes his muscles. Credit: NASA
More great images from the EVAs. Above, Danny Olivas shows his strength during the second EVA and below, Nicole Stott is framed by parts of the ISS, with the solar arrays lit by the sun behind her.
Stott and the ISS. Credit: NASA
The astronauts from both crews on the ISS. Credit: NASA
The STS-128 and Expedition 20 crewmembers found a few moments on a day between two spacewalk days to pose for some portraits on the International Space Station. The red-clad crewmembers are with STS-128. They include, front row, from the left, astronauts Rick Sturckow, Jose Hernandez and Patrick Forrester; behind them in red, are astronauts Kevin Ford, John “Danny” Olivas, with European Space Agency astronaut Christer Fuglesang. At bottom left is Tim Kopra, who joined the station crew in July but now is scheduled to return to Earth in less than a week with the Discovery astronauts. Surrounding the Discovery crew, in clockwise fashion, are the members of Expedition 20 crew, astronaut Nicole Stott, Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, with cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and astronaut Michael Barratt.
Nighttime launch of STS-128. Credit: NASA
The mission began on August 28 with the nighttime launch of space shuttle Discovery. Liftoff was at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
By Nancy Atkinson
- Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.