Monday, May 23, 2011

Been So Long: Soyuz Fly Around at Last!

Well, I know it's been a while since I checked in--I've been busily trying to figure out what I'm going to do this summer. Getting turned down for co-ops all day is hard work. Anyway, I've also been avidly following the STS-134 mission, which featured the installation of the AMS-02 experiment unit on the station truss, and an unexpected but welcome addition: the Soyuz fly-around photo opportunity originally scheduled for STS-133.

On that flight, the Soyuz was the first of a new type, which meant that the Russians did not feel comfortable using it for the proposed photo. However, the Soyuz that is today being used is of the older type, and as a result even as I write this the Soyuz is separating from the station and backing off to take images of the now-finally complete station (well, except for the Russian MLM and node, anyway) and the Space Shuttle Endeavor on that vehicle's final flight. Astronaut Paulo Nespoli will be taking pictures and imagery of the station over the next half-hour or so. For more information, I recommend checking out NASA TV and Nasaspaceflight, my favorite place for space news updates. Engineering imagery of the station from the Soyuz are currently showing on NASA TV, and it's a great prelude of the full images we should get from this unique and historic opportunity.

Soyuz has rolled to re-orient station in camera view, station about to begin a maneuver to give Soyuz a better view of the station. Video apparently also being taken, which should be astounding.

That maneuver now in progress:

Pluming visible on the Soyuz as it maneuvers to keep station.

The imagery from the cameras Nespolia is operating should be amazing, just the engineering views from Soyuz are amazing. Can't wait!

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