Space Station Sunday: Science And Progress

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's the latest news from 220 miles above Earth.

Astronaut Scott Kelly enjoys "Saturday morning coffee with my old friend, Planet Earth."
The coffee is contained in the silver pouch on the right.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly/ 

This week, an unmanned resupply cargo ship was supposed to dock with the ISS, but unfortunately was lost beyond control shortly after separating from its rocket booster.  The launch of the Russian Progress 59 cargo craft occurred on Tuesday in Kazahkstan.  Although Russian mission control tried to track the resupply ship over the next day thereafter, they were unable to regain propulsive control, and eventually all hope for the docking was scrubbed.

Well, at least it looked cool on the way out.
(Image courtesy

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took the news with characteristic aplomb, reporting from the ISS via video that, "The important thing is hardware can be replaced, and we'll replace all that hardware, and we'll continue to operate the space station."

Despite being loaded with 6,000 pounds of food, fuel, and supplies, the reentry of the Progress 59 craft will pose no threat to either the ISS or humans on earth.  More info is available here.

The empty docking port which would have held the Progress 59.
Though the ISS got no Progress spacecraft, there was still plenty of progress ON the spacecraft...
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly /

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti spent some time this week explaining how mass, gravity, and freefall work in space.  Get your space education on thanks to her video below:

She also captured some more lovely images of earth life from space, such as the frozen waters off of Canada:

And this "fairy tale landscape" from Patagonia...

Astronaut Cristoforetti also snagged a spectacular shot of a "moonrise" as seen by the ISS:

Even amidst all this beauty, the station's scientists continued their work unabated.  ISS commander Terry Virts worked on the Robotic Refueling mission, which will use the station's dexterous mechanical arm to provide servicing to visiting spacecraft (without astronauts having to undergo extravehicular activity.)  Certain satellites could also be remedied for anomalies thanks to this technology.

The crew also worked on the Sprint study, which uses high-intensity exercise to prevent muscle, bone, and cardiovascular deterioration in micro-gravity.

And of course, astronaut Scott Kelly's "Year In Space" mission continues with flying colors.  His adventures, as well as other elements of ISS life, were discussed in this Science Friday podcast.

That's all for this week, space fans!  Tune in next time, and maybe we'll find out where that darn Russian cargo ship floated off to (or at least where it came hurtling back through the atmosphere in a ball of flames!)  Watch this space!

Astronaut Kelly stirred some creative speculation after posting this image on his facebook with the caption:
"Some people see images in clouds. I see images on Earth. What do you see in these patterns?"
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly /

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