Tag Archives: International Space Station

Point Nemo – The Spacecraft Graveyard

In the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, there’s a location called “Point Nemo”. It’s not a place that humans live – in fact, there is no land there – not an island, not even a small rock. It is actually the remotest place from any human civilization you can find on Earth. It lies at least 2,688 km (1,670 mi) from the nearest land. It is also called “Oceanic pole of inaccessibility”.Notes 1

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Kessler Syndrome: Space junk can end space exploration, and destroy modern way life

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first human-made object to orbit Earth. This event marks the beginning of humanity’s space exploration history. After that, humanity went to the moon, astronauts and cosmonauts performed countless spacewalks, and since the arrival of Expedition 1 on November 2, 2000, the International Space Station station has been continuously occupied. To date, this is the longest continuous human presence in space, having surpassed the previous record of 9 years and 357 days held by Mir. But maybe even more important, we launched thousands of artificial satellites into the Earth’s orbit. These artificial satellites shape our modern life: weather forecasts, broadcasting, communication and GPS are just a few examples. But, there’s a side effect: just like here on the Earth, we are slowly filling the most important part just above us, with junk.  And this junk can end space exploration, and destroy our modern way life. This (very possible) scenario known as the Kessler Syndrome, proposed by the American astrophysicist and former NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978.

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A cosmonaut’s view, just after launching a tiny satellite into the orbit

On August 15, 2018, two Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station performed one of the longest spacewalks in the history of space exploration. During the spacewalk lasting 7 hours and 46 minutes, Expedition 56 Flight Engineers Sergey Prokopyev and Oleg Artemyev manually launched four small technology satellites and installed a German-led animal-tracking project named Icarus onto the Russian segment of the space station. Two of the satellites were only the size of tissue boxes.

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The coldest place in the Universe is now on the ISS

As soon as NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) began producing ultra-cold atoms, the International Space Station (ISS) became the coldest place in the known universe. The formation of a Bose-Einstein condensate, a fifth state of matter occurred in NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) at a temperature of 130 nanoKelvin, or less than 10 billionth of a degree above Absolute Zero. Absolute zero, or zero Kelvin, is equal to minus 459 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 273 Celsius. Previously, the record-cold was achieved in Prof. Wolfgang Ketterle’s laboratory at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.
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Russian spacecraft arrived to the ISS in just 3 hours and 40 minutes

Russia’s Progress 70 resupply spacecraft set a milestone for International Space Station operations when it arrived in a record time: just three hours and 40 minutes, or only two Earth orbits (of the ISS). The uncrewed spacecraft delivered the cargo which includes 530 kg of propellant, 52 kg of oxygen gas, 420 kg of water and 1,565 kg of “dry” cargo such as food and other equipment to the space station.
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Hubble Space Telescope Launch

On April 24, 1990, Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit from space shuttle Discovery (STS-31). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 350 miles (560 kilometers). For a comparison, the International Space Station (ISS) maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 205 and 270 miles (330 and 435 kilometers). The telescope is 43.5 feet (13.2 meters) long, weighs 24,500 pounds (11,110 kilograms).
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An amazing view of our one and only planet

NASA Astronaut Ricky Arnold published an amazing “selfie” from space on his Twitter account saying “An amazing view of our one and only planet”. He took this selfie during the May 16, 2018 spacewalk to perform upgrades on the International Space Station. We can see the Earth, the beautiful blue marble, reflecting on his helmet’s visor.
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Soon, the ISS Will Be the Coldest Known Place in the Universe

Where is the coldest known place in the Universe? It may sound strange, but today, it is here on Earth: in 1995, in a laboratory in M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the German physicist Wolfgang Ketterle and his colleagues have cooled a sodium gas to the lowest temperature ever recorded, only half-a-billionth of a degree above absolute zero.
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