Saturday, February 27, 2010

STS-130 pics

They did much of their work up there at night. It was pretty convenient for me to watch, as it would be on NASA TV when I'd get home. I saw much of this mission, including the pictured part below, live.

Here, they were readying that cupola when they had a sunrise. Sunrises and sunsets take only a few seconds each; due to the speed of their orbit, they have one or the other something like every 45 minutes.

I watched an ungodly amount of this mission: three hours of one spacewalk, and four hours of another. I also watched when they were using the "Canadarm" (cute word, that)to move the Harmony node, cupola, and pressurized mating adapter to their final homes. (I swear, the last one looks like a duodenum.) It was pretty mesmerizing, as NASA tv has no commercial interruptions.

Canada gets a lot of exposure from those arms. There's one on the ISS itself, and one (or two?) on the shuttle.

Harmony node, attached to the ISS, with cupola and pressurized mating adapter. The PMA is the dark thing on the right. The shuttle can dock with one of those. I don't know if I'd want to go through one though, as its appearance gives me the mental image of being squeezed through the alimentary canal.

One thing I liked about watching this mission, was that it allowed me to watch educated, intelligent people doing interesting work. Not only was this a nice antidote to the "normal" news coverage of dysfunctional people doing stupid things (like flying planes into IRS offices) but it gave me hope that I could someday be involved in something similarly rewarding.

Just watching mission control in Houston was pretty uplifting. Check out how most of the displays are just flat-panel computer monitors. The consoles are quite unlike the purpose built consoles of yesteryear.

Also, if I can say so without sounding too stalkerish, the chick in the middle row is cute as a bug in a rug. I can't quite read the plaque on her console, but from visiting the NASA website, it looks like she's sitting at the ODIN console (Onboard, Data, Interfaces and Networks). I guess that explains the viking helmet!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Endeavour STS 130

pic from NASA t.v. ...

I stayed up/woke up two nights to watch this. It was pretty exciting, but my video isn't all that great. Still though, it's amazing that you can actually see these things going up from by apartment. I'm on the other side of the state! And though you can't tell from the video, I was clearly able to see the SRB's separating. As this was the last nighttime shuttle launch ever, I'm sorry I didn't make the trip to see it close up.

It's just a small light on the video, but you're welcome to look at it. Anyway, I think it's a shame they're shutting down the shuttle program and replacing it with...nothing.