Space Station Sunday: Success And Space Jams

Good evening, space fans!  It was a calm but productive week on the ISS.

New Year's celebrations got multiplied 16-fold for our orbiting adventurers, who got to see a dozen-and-a-quarter daybreaks from their perfect perch.  As alcohol is not allowed on the ISS, no champagne toasts were made, but that's a fair price to pay for saying you got to literally party around the world on New Year's Eve.

With much Martian goodness to follow...
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

According to NASA, approximately 3,575 hours worth of research on some 300 different projects were conducted by the space station crews during 2014 alone, bringing more insight and innovation into the micro-g lifestyle as well as new developments for all the rest of us who remain ground-bound.

Over the course of the 2014, nine different unmanned vehicles visited the ISS (four Russian Progress ships, two SpaceX Dragons, two orbital Cygnus craft, and one final flight of Europe's Automated Transfer Vehicle.)  Four Russian Soyuz crafts spirited up three new crew members apiece to join the stellar ranks of the ISS team, and eleven of the astronauts and cosmonauts participated in seven different spacewalks over the course of the year.  By all accounts, this helped make 2014 a tremendously productive year in space.

Commander Barry "Butch" Wilmore, the NASA astronaut currently commanding the space station, got to celebrate a little extra on this successful year, as his 52nd birthday fell a few days previous on December 29th.  The Flight Control team in Houston was even on hand to sing him Happy Birthday from mission control!

Butch's ISS comrades also helped him age in style.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

From an earthly perspective, the ISS captured the imagination of Israeli photographer Gadi Edelheit, who tracked the station using the HeavensAbove astronomy site and captured images of the ISS as it was in transit past the face of the moon.  The video of the flyby, made famous via Gizmodo, puts into dramatic perspective how small our space force is in the face of all that space.  

And as for snaps from the other direction, NASA astronaut Terry Virts maintains a fascinating Instagram account of his space voyage, with station life and earth life all getting examined via his lens.  With the astronauts adopting an ever more lively presence on social media, the imagery and intrigue from space can touch even the most remote corners of earth!

Want more?  There's a unique ISS Instragram as well!  

This image of the Viedma glacier was captured from the ISS as part of  the Expedition Earth And Beyond program,
which provides space-based earth photos to students.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

And if you'd like a spacey soundtrack to go along with all the excellent imagery, check out the "80UA" collection of remixed space sounds  - everything from rocket blasts to ambient cosmic noise - made by Italian artists Fabrica Musica.

That's all for this week, space fans!  Tune in next time for more from our stars in the stars.  Don't let gravity get you down...have a great week and remember to watch this space!




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