It’s official. We Canadians rock. If William Shatner and Bryan Adams aren’t enough for you, there’s Chris Hadfield. He’s an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency and has become hugely popular with his videos about life aboard the International Space Station, answering such profound questions as how to cut your nails in space.
Now Hadfield is coming home. He’s turned over command of the ISS to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and will be departing on a Soyuz module, which will land in Kazakhstan today at 10:31 p.m. EDT. As a final sendoff, he’s made the first music video in space, a cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” Hadfield isn’t a bad musician, and the video has beautiful visuals of him on the ISS.
Put it on full screen, sit back and enjoy. It’s a great day to be Canadian.
The International Space Station is one of the wonders of modern technology. A series of interconnected orbital modules are home to a rotating crew of astronauts and cosmonauts plus a host of ongoing experiments. While the ISS only gets into the news every now and then, interesting things are happening there daily.
Right now three astronauts – two American and one Canadian – are on duty up there along with three cosmonauts from Russia. This video is a weekly update showing what they did last week. The main work has been preparing for the arrival of the Dragon spacecraft, which will bring supplies and take some completed experiments and waste back to Earth.
Besides that, the crew has been conducting experiments, doing maintenance work on their spacesuits, troubleshooting a partial communications failure, training with the robotic arm, and answering questions from the public back on Earth.
The three astronauts even got a break for Presidents Day. I didn’t know they got days off up there. I wonder what they do? Stare out the window a lot, I bet.
The weekly update gets uploaded every Friday and there are daily updates throughout the week. You can followed them on the ISS website.
Last week, Russia marked the 75th birthday of Russian space pioneer Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. In 1963, Tereshkova orbited the earth 48 times in three days, logging more flight time than all the previous American astronauts combined, and becoming the first and only woman to travel solo in space. Before launching into space, Tereshkova exclaimed, “Hey, sky, take your hat off!” The US space program would not send a woman into space for another 20 years, when Sally Ride flew as a crew member on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Tereshkova later married another cosmonaut, held several of the highest offices in the Soviet Union, and is revered as a hero among women and Russians. Inspired by Ms. Tereshkova? You can go inside the Russian space program this fall for a cool $14,000.
If you haven’t seen this video since its emergence on the internet in the past two days, stop whatever you’re doing, plug in your best headphones, quit your other applications (so you can watch in silky smooth HD), and full-screen this amazing compilation of moving images.
Edited by Michael König, this time-lapse was created by stitching together a series of still images shot by astronauts Ron Garan, Satoshi Furukawa, and the crews of expeditions 28 & 29 onboard the International Space Station. Shot from an altitude of 350km between August and October 2011, the images were captured at 4K resolution with NASA’s Super-Sensitive High Definition TV system.
The imaging system picks up much more light than a normal HD camera is capable of, thus capturing a vivid look at the surface of the Earth and aurora borealis that’s unlike anything humanity has seen before.
Assuming that you don’t have $1 million to book an entire Virgin Galactic flight exclusively for your family, this video should be a pleasant placeholder until you get your finances in order. Until then, leave us a comment with a link to your favorite shots from the ground! It could be our next Photo/Video of the Day.
Space tourism is ten years old this week. On 28 April 2001 millionaire Dennis Tito became the first person to go into space as a tourist and not an astronaut or scientist.
In an interview with BBC today he talked about how thrilled he was and called his eight days being in orbit “paradise.”
While space tourism is the ultimate in high-cost adventure travel–only seven people have done it so far and Tito is said to have paid $20 million for the privilege–private companies are hoping to make it more widely available. They also want to make it more comfortable. Tito was crammed “elbow to elbow” in a Russian capsule after NASA refused to put him on one of the Space Shuttles. Not that he cared at the time. Check out this video of Dennis Tito’s arrival at the International Space Station. The guy’s euphoric!
A number of private companies are looking into commercial space travel. The most serious contender is Virgin Galactic, which has already built a spaceport and put their spaceship Enterprise through a test flight. The company hopes to push an orbital trip down to $200,000, just one percent of what Tito paid. Who knows? Maybe good old free-market competition will push the price even lower than that.
Even more ambitious is Excalibur Almaz, a company based in the Isle of Man that has bought some Russian space capsules that they’re refurbishing. They boast that they’ll offer trips around the Moon by 2015.
Best of luck folks, but I won’t be looking for a Lonely Planet Outer Space in the bookstores anytime soon.