Tag Archives: Space Shuttle

The First Tweet from Space (May 13, 2009)

Ten years ago today, on May 13, 2009, NASA astronaut Michael J. Massimino composed the first tweet from space as he and the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis zoomed to rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope. Massimino wrote “From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”.

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Why NASA Launches Rockets From Cape Canaveral, Florida?

Have you ever wondered why NASA chose Cape Canaveral to launch rockets? NASA’s most important rocket launches including the Mercury program, Project Gemini, the Moon Missions, and Space Shuttle lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In fact, at the first look, Florida doesn’t look like a convenient place for rocket launches: the southeasternmost state gets hit by lightning more than anywhere in the United States. And getting hit by lightning is a very bad thing during a rocket launch Notes 1. What’s more, monster hurricanes frequently hit Florida (almost every year).

So, why NASA chose Cape Canaveral?

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Space Shuttle Endeavour over Cook Strait

An amazing photo which was taken from the International Space Station showing the Space Shuttle Endeavour over Cook Strait, New Zealand. It was taken on November 25, 2002, as the space shuttle approaches the International Space Station (ISS) during STS-113 rendezvous and docking operations.

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Watch: Top 10 Tallest Rockets Ever Launched

To able to reach the space, we need rockets. Rocket engines work by action and reaction (“To every action, there is always opposed an equal reaction” Notes 1) and push rockets forward simply by expelling their exhaust in the opposite direction at high speed and can, therefore, work in the vacuum of space. Space rockets are usually enormous in size, because the bigger the rocket is, the more thrust can produce its engine and can carry more weight into the orbit. Here are the 10 tallest rockets ever launched in the history of space exploration.

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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).

Here is a photo of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope below.

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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.

During the spacewalk which lasted for 6 hours and 31 minutes, Arnold and fellow NASA astronaut Andrew J. Feustel transferred a Pump Flow Control Subassembly over to Dextre stowed failed PFCS on ESP-1, replaced camera and lights used to film NASA TV, replaced Space to Ground Transceiver Controller, performed get aheads to Install handrails on Radiator Grapple Bars on S1, removed thermal blankets and MLI from two Direct Current Switching Units on ESP-2, and prepped the Flex Hose Rotary Coupler on S1 for replacement. Spacewalk suffered a 7-minute delay because of a water leak which formed ice crystals inside the airlock. The spacewalk brought Arnold’s cumulative EVA (Extravehicular activity) time to over 18 hours.

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