Every so often, I share some current NASA-related items of interest. I firmly believe that more people knowing about what NASA is doing means more people willing to enthusiastically support our missions, so even if you don’t really follow space happenings on a regular basis (or at all), I hope you find these occasional posts interesting!
1 // I started this post months ago but never finished — and at the time, I’d included this photo of the Soyuz launch from back in July. I watched it on TV and it was one of the prettiest launches I can remember. Launch time was close to sunrise, which resulted in some cool lighting on the exhaust plume. And if you look closely you can count 5 points of light in the photo above that belong to 4 strap-on boosters plus what I think is probably the launch escape tower — all items that are dumped during flight once the boosters are empty and the launch escape tower is no longer needed.
2 // One of the coolest things about the International Space Station is that there’s always something — or someone(s) — coming or going! There were two more launches in the last couple days. Last Friday another SpaceX Dragon cargo ship took off from Florida, and arrived at the station on Sunday morning. A few hours before it arrived, the latest Soyuz left Kazakhstan with 3 new crewmembers bound for the ISS. It’s scheduled to dock later tonight, at least as I write this on Monday evening. (By the time this post goes live on Tuesday morning, the new crew should be onboard!)
3 // File this one under “doesn’t seem exciting but is actually really important” — NASA is still waiting to get a new administrator. Our former administrator, Charlie Bolden, left at the end of President Obama’s term and the Trump administration has yet to confirm a new one. They did nominate Jim Bridenstine, a Congressman from Oklahoma, and he went through Senate hearings last month. But nothing’s happened since then so the agency continues chugging along under interim leadership. There are actually several things ranging from inconsequential to pretty important that can’t officially be done until we get an administrator, and it’s now been almost a year. Hopefully we get one soon.
4 // The ISS flew over the DC area last month and NASA photographer Bill Ingalls took this super cool shot of the station streaking above the National Cathedral. (Bonus tip: you can find out when the ISS will be flying over you at Spot the Station!)
5 // This NASA post about the birth of a new volcanic island in Tonga is one of the coolest things I’ve read recently. My favorite part? Two French citizens who were sailing around the world were recruited to stop by the new island and gather pictures and data — and even mailed a box of rocks back to NASA Goddard in Maryland. How cool is that??
6 // And in case you missed my earlier post, the James Webb Space Telescope is currently here in Houston wrapping up testing and I got to see it last week! It was very, very cool. This photo above isn’t the view I got, unfortunately, but does give a really nice perspective on the primary mirror! And see all the people in clean room bunny suits gathered around it? Neat indeed.
p.s. I’m doing a 31 day blog writing challenge!