If I didn’t know better, I’d swear some of the images from the STS-129 shuttle mission to the International Space Station were CGI renderings taken from a science fiction novel. Take the above image, for example of astronaut Mike Foreman working on the exterior of the ISS during the second space walk of the mission. It looks almost surreal. But these are genuine images of real people working on an authentic, almost-completed space station. This images, and the other images below, leave me in awe of what we are accomplishing in space. Enjoy this gallery of amazing images from the fifth and last shuttle flight of 2009.
Here’s another awe-inspiring image. Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, astronaut Robert Satcher Jr. works during the first space walk of the mission. Satcher and Mike Foreman (out of frame)installed antennas, cables, and other items to prepare for the Tranquility node that will be brought up to the station next year.
There was some chatter on Twitter that this image brought to mind visions of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek. But this is a closeup of Atlantis’ docking ring backdropped by the ISS as the shuttle crew approached for docking with the station. Docking occurred at 10:51 a.m. (CST) on Nov. 18, 2009.
Another great shot: Sunrise in space. This scene shows from the Russian section of the ISS, as photographed by one of the STS-129 crew members.
I always love these images which demonstrate how HUGE the ISS is. Here, Robert Satcher works on the Z1 truss section during the first EVA of the mission.
Taking on the appearance of a busy spaceport, the Russian segment of the ISS has a docked Soyuz spacecraft (center) and a Progress resupply vehicle that is docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment.
Every shuttle mission picture gallery isn’t complete without a picture of an astronaut with another astronaut visible in the helmet visor reflection. Here, Mike Foreman’s helmet reveals his crewmate, Randy Bresnik, capturing the image with an electronic still camera. The two were in the midst of the second scheduled space walk for the Atlantis crewmembers.
Who is upside down? Charlie Hobaugh (left), STS-129 commander and Robert Satcher , or the astronaut who took the picture? The two are pictured near a window in the Destiny laboratory.
Eight of the 12 crew members of the joint ISS/shuttle crews pose for a photo at the galley in the Unity node. Pictured from the left are NASA astronauts Leland Melvin, Robert Satcher Jr., Charlie Hobaugh, Nicole Stott, cosmonauts Roman Romanenko, Maxim Suraev, and astronauts Jeff Williams, and Frank De Winne, commander of Expedition 21 from the ESA.
A gorgeous shot of Atlantis’ launch on Nov. 16. Below is another launch picture, with the members of the NASA Tweetup watching by the famous countdown clock.