Thursday, October 22, 2009


Image above: Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member STS-128 crew head toward Earth orbit and rendezvous with the International Space Station.

Image above: The International Space Station is seen from space shuttle Discovery as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation.

We get to and from space in them, they deliver food and supplies to us, they dock to each other, they provide us with everything we need to live in the vacuum of space --- and they are amazingly beautiful. The space shuttle, the space station, the Soyuz, the HTV, the Progress – these are all the spacecraft I’ve had the opportunity to see while I’ve been here in space. You can’t look at these vehicles without being impressed, sometimes overwhelmed by how impressive they are.

And the impression is not just from the incredible engineering marvels that they all are or from their size, but it’s also very simply from how incredibly beautiful they each are. There is a shiny, spectacular independence to each of them when you see them hanging so naturally in space, like they were meant to be there with the forces of nature holding them in their place. And as they approach and come into view – starting out first as only a pinpoint of light against the very blackness of space or the backdrop of our glowing, colorful planet and then gradually/quickly transforming into the magnificent, shining, beautiful spacecraft that they are. Awesome!

Image above: The Soyuz TMA-16 spacecraft approaches the International Space Station.

Image above: The unpiloted Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) approaches the International Space Station.

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