Sunday, May 31, 2009

ISS UPdates

It's been busy for the last couple of weeks, you'll have to forgive me for not keeping up with my postings. The remainder of STS-125 went off well, with only some minor glitches during the remaining spacewalks. On the last spacewalk, an astronaut bumped one of Hubble's communications antennae with his backpack, and you could tell by his tone he was really ticked off. Everything was well, however, and after a few adjustments the Hubble was ready for release back into Orbit. Reminds of of fishing catch-and-release. Anyway, the anti-climatic end to the mission was the two-day delays in landing due to poor weather at the Florida landing strip. Eventually , Atlantis landed safely and perfectly at Edwards Air Force Base in California. A mission for the recordbooks.

Just recently, three more astronauts left the Russian spaceport in a Soyuz rocket to renezvous with the ISS. The crew of Expedition 20 is now up to 6. YIPPEE! Finally, we have a full team of explorers to make the most of the International Space Station.

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka has the position of station commander. According to NASA, this is the first time all 5 international station partners have a representative on the crew. Those partners are: NASA, Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada. One wonders whether China will eventually join the partnership. 

On the unusual side of things, NASA Astronaut Michael Barratt was able to watch the movie "Star Trek" on his laptop when it was beamed digitally to the station. There is also a collection of DVDs on the station. Greg Chamitoff, of a previous expedition, told that he and his crewmates managed to watch the entire Star Trek series during their off times on the station or during exercise periods. My faith in the space program has been strengthened!

The ISS remains in orbit about 220 miles up.

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