Space Station Sunday: Parking, Plants, And Perseids

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's all the best news from orbit this week.

Check out some rockin' space rocks hurtling through the sky during this month's
Perseid Meteor Shower.
(Image courtesy

On Monday, three ISS astronauts made history when sampling a crop of lettuce leaves that were grown entirely onboard the station.  Astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui enjoyed a crop of red romaine lettuce grown from "Outredgeous" seeds that had been tended to by the astronauts for several months.  The seeds were grown in "plant pillows" full of nutrients, and matured beneath LED lights that used specific wavelengths to spur the lettuce's growth.  You can watch this tasty bit of space history in 4K via NASA's archive.

Astronaut Kjell Lindgren poses with the pioneering plants, which could someday fuel modern Martians.
(Image courtesy

They were sure to leave some of the leafy greens for their comrades, ISS Commander Gennady Padalka and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who had ventured outside the station for a spacewalk at the time.  The pair completed a series of tasks, including replacing antennae, augmenting maintenance supports, and photo-documenting the ISS exterior over the course of five and a half hours.  The spacewalk was the tenth for Padalka, the second for Kornienko, and the 188th for space station maintenance/assembly overall.

Going with the orbital flow:  business as usual outside the ISS.
(Image courtesy

Today, due to inclement weather, a Japanese launch of the Kounotori resupply vehicle was delayed until Wednesday.  The Kounotori, which is Japanese for "white stork", will bear 4.5 tons of supplies for science and sustenance to the station after a five-day trip.  A H-IIB rocket will ferry the Kounotori {a.k.a. the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-5} up from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

To make some more room for parking, the Russian Progress 58 cargo craft was sent away from the station on Friday morning.  The Progress 58 will eventually burn up once safely navigated back into the atmosphere by Russian ground control.

A beautiful way to go, though.
(Image courtesy

Speaking of objects shooting across the sky, the Perseid meteor shower will be visible until August 24th.  The meteors, which are known for their colorful fireball-like streaks, are best viewed at their peak plummeting time (shortly after midnight), near the constellations of Cassiopeia and Perseus.

A Perseid lights up the sky over Joshua Tree National Park in California.
(Image courtesy

And as usual, One Year Crew astronaut Scott Kelly managed to snag some amazing images of "Earth art" despite his busy schedule.

Manhattan, plus the rest of the world.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)

"Himalayas in #EarthArt form look a bit like funnel cake.#YearInSpace." -Astronaut Scott Kelly

That's all for this week, space fans!  See you next this space!

"#MilkyWay. You're old, dusty, gassy and warped. But beautiful. #YearInSpace." -Astronaut Scott Kelly
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)

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