Fifteen Years On

On December 6, 1998 International Space Station managers proclaimed construction had begun. The US-built Unity module, seen here being positioned, was carried aboard space shuttle Endeavour on STS-88. A few weeks before, Russia had launched the first piece of the station to float above our heads, Zarya. The crew of STS-88 then parked […]


Setting Fires In Space

The Burning and Suppression of Solids (BASS) experiment aboard the ISS seeks to teach scientists about fire in space. Microgravity environments cause things, like fire, to behave differently. Add in the oxygen enriched atmospheres of spacecraft and fire can be a real problem. If we are going to send humans on multi-year journeys […]


Shutdown: Grappling With a Dragon

Click to Largerizerize

Here is a nice hi-res photo of the Space-X Dragon CRS-2 being guided into ISS dock by the station’s grappling arm a couple of days ago. Even though they’re still having some teething pains with their program, it’s great to see Space-X doing so well with their resupply missions.

Maybe […]


Shutdown: All About Perspective

But Techie, they only look about an inch or so apart!?!


Image from NASA, via


Startup: Antibubbles

Just like antimatter is the opposite of regular matter, antibubbles are the opposite of regular bubbles. Instead of a bubble of air surrounded by a body of water, you can have a bubble of water surrounded by a bubble of air. While more stable that antimatter, they aren’t really any cheaper to make since you need both a syringe and several billions of dollars for a space station. Don Pettit has one of the greatest jobs in the world – he gets to create a study these things on board the ISS. Even more stunning than his experiments with water in micro-gravity, is the fact that when he expresses wonder, he sounds less like a scientist and more like a yokel. Then he busts out words like tangental and annular. Videos of Don at work after the jump.

Continue reading Startup: Antibubbles


Earth From the ISS

Our planet has problems. War, famine, and evil can make this a pretty miserable place at times. At 340 km it’s almost the opposite. It seems serene. Beautiful, even.

Hit the jump for a time lapse video put together by Michael König from NASA footage from the ISS. The footage was taken on the Expedition 28 and 29 missions from August to October of this year. Oh, and make sure to hit the HD button.
Continue reading Earth From the ISS

User Input

User Input: The Handyman’s Secret Weapon

There have been a number of inventions and discoveries that are responsible for launching man from the age of the neanderthal to the glorious creature that he is today. Fire. The Wheel. Sliced Bread. Pizza Bagels. This list would be far from complete, however, without including that staple of all households: Duct Tape.

The most common form of Duct Tape was originally created by Johnson & Johnson during WWII for military applications, initially to seal ammunition cases. From there the uses exploded. One such famous use was on NASA’s Apollo 13 mission to adapt the CO2 scrubbers from the command module to work in the lunar module. They used it again on Apollo 17 to repair the lunar rover’s fender. Duct tape is even included in the supply list in the spaceflight operations manual for the ISS. If an astronaut goes mental on board, official procedure is to restrain him with duct tape.

Continue reading User Input: The Handyman’s Secret Weapon


Taking “Land”ing Literally

Soyuz TMA-20 landing in Kazakhstan.

Those crazy Soviets. They design a rocket, based on an ICBM back in the ’60s and then keep using it. They design a spacecraft to ride atop that rocket to put a man on the moon, but they don’t do that and instead still use it. They call […]


Robonaut 2

Yeah, I look badass.

Robonaut, R2A

In case you haven’t heard by now, this is a big week in space! In addition to the Glory mission (scrubbed, rescheduled for 24FEB11, 2:09am local Pacific time Thursday morning) being launched from Vandenburg AFB, tomorrow’s Discovery launch will have a very special guest on board.

Meet R2A, a highly dexterous anthropomorphic robot scheduled to punch a one-way ticket on STS-133 and become a permanent resident on-board the ISS (International Space Station). Continue reading Robonaut 2