The STS-130 mission has provided some of the most amazing photos of any space shuttle mission to date — from a stunning shot of space shuttle Endeavour silhouetted against Earth’s colorful atmosphere, to incredible views of the International Space station, to the always amazing photos of astronauts at work in space. But that’s only the beginning! Take a look at a sampling of some of the best images from the mission so far. Above, astronaut Bob Behnken works outside the ISS during the first EVA of the mission.
During my time in at Kennedy Space Center the past couple of weeks, I had the chance to see space shuttle Endeavour up close. But not quite this close! Here’s the view the ISS astronauts had as the space shuttle pulled up for docking to the space station.
This is an amazing view of our home in space, the ISS, and a great way to see the international partnership of nations at work: CanadArm 2 from Canada hangs onto the Tranquility Node built by Europe; also a view of Japan’s JEM module, and the Russian Soyuz and a US space shuttle that are docked to the ISS.
I get vertigo just looking at this one! Hang on Bob Behnken!! But what a view. During the first EVA of the mission, Behnken and fellow spacewalker Nicholas Patrick relocated a temporary platform from the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, to the station’s truss structure and installed two handles on the robot. Once Tranquility was structurally mated to Unity, the spacewalkers connected heater and data cables that integrated the new module with the rest of the station’s systems. They also pre-positioned insulation blankets and ammonia hoses that the same two spacewalkers connected up Tranquility to the station’s cooling radiators during the mission’s second spacewalk.
This is what we all want to do in space. Pilot Terry Virts does Superman in fine style in the Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB).
Fresh food in space is one thing we haven’t figured out how to do yet, so any arriving spacecraft must be extremely welcome for the crunchy and succulent apples, oranges, carrots, etc. they bring. It’s interesting to see NASA uses the same green bags that I use at home to keep fruit and vegetables fresh longer. That’s ISS Commander Jeff Williams with the goodies.
I know we published this image earlier, but it is so amazing, I had to include it in this gallery. Just absolutely stunning.
A great shot of astronaut Bob Behnken during EVA-2, a five-hour, 54-minute spacewalk. Behnken and Nicholas Patrick connected two ammonia coolant loops, installed thermal covers around the ammonia hoses, outfitted the Earth-facing port on the Tranquility node for the relocation of its Cupola, and installed handrails and a vent valve on the new module.
Another great view of the action taking place at the ISS this week. In the grasp of the Canadarm2, the cupola was relocated from the forward port to the Earth-facing port of the International Space Station’s newly installed Tranquility node. The cupola is a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that will provide a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting spacecrafts. With the installation of Tranquility and cupola, the space station is about 90 percent complete.
Having witnessed the launch personally, I have to include a couple of incredible pictures of the night launch of Endeavour. Speaking of launches, the latest word is that the next mission may be an early morning launch, as STS-131 has slipped to launching no earlier than April 5, 2010 at 6:27 am EDT. We’ll keep you posted.
For more images, see the STS-130 gallery on NASA’s website.
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 the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.