Minimize ISS Utilization: Sample imagery

ISS Utilization: Sample imagery taken by astronauts on and from the ISS + Events


This file is a loose collection of some imagery samples taken by astronauts off and from the ISS (International Space Station). Astronauts who experience Earth from orbit often report feelings of awe and wonder, of being transformed by what they describe as the magic such a perspective brings. This phenomenon is called the ”overview effect.” The short descriptions in the following entries are presented in reverse order .

Note: As of February 29, 2020, the previously large ISS-Imagery2 and ISS-Imagery files have been split into five files, to make the file handling manageable for all parties concerned, in particular for the user community.

This article covers the ISS-Imagery plus some status in the period 2021

ISS-Imagery in the period 2020

ISS-Imagery in the period 2019

ISS-Imagery in the period 2018

ISS-Imagery in the period 2017-2016

ISS-Imagery in the period 2015-1998

Mission status and sample imagery of 2021

• November 30, 2021: NASA postponed a spacewalk outside the International Space Station by two astronauts just hours before it was scheduled to start after getting a warning that debris would pass close to the station (see Figure 1). 1)

- In a brief statement issued early Nov. 30, NASA said a “debris notification” it received on the evening of Nov. 29 led the agency to postpone the spacewalk by astronauts Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, which had been scheduled to start at about 7:10 a.m. EST. The two had planned to replace an S-band antenna on the station’s truss that recently lost the ability to transmit data.

- “Due to the lack of opportunity to properly assess the risk it could pose to the astronauts, teams have decided to delay the spacewalk until more information is available,” NASA said in the statement. The agency did not identify the debris in question or the times and distances of closest approach to the station.

- The announcement came hours after NASA station managers, speaking at a media briefing about the spacewalk, downplayed the risk posed by debris created from a Russian antisatellite weapon test early Nov. 15. That test created thousands of pieces of debris, leading ISS crews to shelter in their Soyuz and Crew Dragon vehicles for several hours immediately after the test.

- “As ISS passed through the orbit of the debris, we had a heightened, elevated concern for about 24 hours after the event,” said Dana Weigel, NASA ISS deputy program manager, at the Nov. 29 briefing. “Since that time the debris has dispersed out quite a bit more.”

- For the station overall, she said the background environment of debris is double what is had been before the test. However, the risk to the spacesuits is dominated by very small debris, primarily micrometeoroids. She said the risk to the suits was increased by only about 7% because of the ASAT test based on modeling. The risk to the astronauts “falls within the family of what we’ve had for EVAs over the last few years.”

- That specific risks to the suits, Weigel said later, refer to debris penetrating the suit, but not necessarily a “catastrophic” penetration. The baseline risk of such an event is 1 in 2,700 over the course of a standard EVA lasting six and a half hours.

- Station managers did modify the spacewalk by reducing the number of “get-ahead” tasks available for the astronauts to perform if they completed the antenna work ahead of schedule. Those tasks dropped from the spacewalk included routing an Ethernet cable and releasing bolts for a spare nitrogen tank, activities NASA said could be deferred to later spacewalks.

- “Because we had to make the decision about the content of the EVA a couple weeks ago and we didn’t have all the assessment data in, we didn’t understand yet what the debris environment risk increase was,” Weigel said. “We were conservative in eliminating things from the spacewalk.”

- She added that the station program overall was dealing with 1,700 new objects being tracked after the ASAT test. “It will take a few months to get all of those cataloged and into our normal debris tracking processes,” she said.

- The 1,700 figure is the first update from a U.S. government agency on the amount of tracked debris since initial statements Nov. 15 by U.S. Space Command that it was tracking more than 1,500 pieces of debris created by the destruction of the Cosmos 1408 spacecraft. Space Command did not respond to a Nov. 22 inquiry seeking an update on the amount of debris it was tracking from that test.

• November 30, 2021: It can be hard to appreciate that a human-made, football-pitch-sized spacecraft is orbiting 400 km above our heads, but there it is. 2)


Figure 1: The jewel of human cooperation and ingenuity that is the International Space Station shines brightly in this image captured by ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. Crew-2 got these amazing views during a fly-around of the orbiting lab after undocking from the Harmony module on 8 November, before their return to Earth (image credit: ESA/NASA-T. Pesquet)

- Since this image was taken, there has even been a new addition in the form of the Russian Node Module, known as Prichal. The final Russian module planned for the Station, it is a spherical node attached to the Russian segment with six docking ports for future Progress and Soyuz arrivals.

- A collaboration between five space agencies, the Station has become a symbol of peaceful international cooperation for 23 years now. It represents the best of our space engineering capabilities as well as humankind’s pursuit of scientific knowledge and exploration.

- By any standards, it is an incredible piece of spacecraft engineering. Weighing 420 tons, it travels in low-Earth orbit at more than 27,000 km/hour, circling Earth approximately 16 times every day.

- Crew members conduct scientific research in microgravity at facilities such as ESA’s Columbus module. Some of these experiments and tests are preparing the way for human exploration of the Moon and beyond. But the Station also provides a unique view of Earth, while its science benefits life on our planet.

- Current ESA astronaut in residence is Matthias Maurer, a first-time flier spending around six-months in orbit for his Cosmic Kiss mission. Matthias will continue to support a wide range of European and international science experiments and technological research on the Station before handing off to the next ESA astronaut to fly, Samantha Cristoforetti.

• November 27, 2021: An astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph of two neighboring stratovolcanoes on Java, the most populated island of Indonesia. Mount Sundoro and Mount Sumbing are two symmetrical, cone-shaped peaks in Central Java province that are part of a larger east to west chain of volcanoes. Both peaks rise more than 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above sea level and are still active, though they have not erupted since 1730 (Sumbing) and 1971 (Sundoro). 3)

- The brighter zones encircling the bases of both volcanoes include areas of intensive agriculture; these contrast with the dark forests on the higher slopes. The peaks of Sumbing and Sundoro rise high enough that the rocky summits elevations reach above the tree line.

- The rich volcanic soils surrounding the peaks are very fertile, providing productive farmland in this region of Central Java. The tropical climate of Indonesia also provides abundant rain and sunlight. The area’s main crop is rice, grown in irrigated fields. Other lowland crops include corn, sugarcane, and coffee.


Figure 2: The astronaut photograph ISS065-E-31847 was acquired on May 10, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 200 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Laura Phoebus)

• November 25, 2021: This autumn marks the 400th anniversary of a 1621 gathering of members of the Wampanoag Nation and European colonists near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Historians still debate the exact circumstances of the gathering, but the story inspired the modern American tradition of Thanksgiving, which was designated a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. For many Native Americans, however, it is not a day of thanksgiving, but of mourning. 4)

- The colonists landed on Cape Cod in November 1620 after crossing the Atlantic on the Mayflower from Plymouth in southwest England. After exploring parts of the Cape and making their first encounters with the Wampanoag, the colonists sailed across Cape Cod Bay, landed near an abandoned Wampanoag settlement known as Patuxet, and founded the Plymouth Colony.

- Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Plymouth, England, are shown above in photographs shot by astronauts from the International Space Station. These two similarly named locations also share an even older geological connection. During the Paleozoic Era, several hundred million years ago, the land that would become southeastern Massachusetts and southwestern England were part of the same microcontinent—Avalonia, or the Avalon terrane.

- A terrane is a group of rocks that share a similar origin and geologic history. Much of northeast North America is made of terranes. Over several hundred million years, plate tectonic forces welded various terranes on to the east coast of Laurentia, the ancient paleocontinent that makes up the core of North America.

- The land that would become Avalonia first formed as a chain of volcanoes off the western coast of the supercontinent Gondwana about 600 million years ago. Then, about 465 million years ago, the land rifted away from Gondwana. It began inching west across the proto-Atlantic Ocean, driven by plate tectonic forces.

- Between about 425 million and 380 million years ago, Avalonia collided with Laurentia and forced up a mountain range along the suture. This collision was an early part of the Acadian Orogeny, the second major mountain-building phase of the Appalachian Mountains. In the U.K., it is called the Caledonian Orogeny.

- The third phase of Appalachian mountain-building, the Alleghanian Orogeny, occurred around 350 million to 250 million years ago. During this phase, Avalonia, now attached to North America, was caught in the middle as the continents converged, closing the proto-Atlantic Ocean and forming the supercontinent Pangaea.


Figure 3: The astronaut photograph ISS065-E-93706 of Plymouth, U.K., was acquired on June 8, 2021, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 mm lens. Astronaut photograph ISS065-E-124634 of Plymouth, MA, was acquired on June 18, 2021, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 50 mm lens. Both images were provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center, and were taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. These images have been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, story by Sara E. Pratt)

- When Pangaea began to break up about 200 million years ago, Avalonia was rifted apart. Pieces of it can now be found in North America, Europe, and Africa. Continued rifting separated North America and Europe and opened the modern Atlantic Ocean—setting the stage for the historical events to follow millions of years later.


Figure 4: Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Plymouth, England, share a historical connection even older than the first Thanksgiving (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory).

• November 21, 2021: The heavily textured surface of Perito Moreno, one of the world’s last non-retreating glaciers, glistens in this detailed photograph taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS). The glacier, located at the southern end of the Southern Patagonian Icefield in Argentina, rises more than 60 meters (200 feet) above the surface of Lago Argentino to the northeast. It marks the separation point between the main lake and its murkier southern branch, Brazo Rico. A single road winds along the coast of Peninsula Magallanes toward Moreno. 5)

- The surface of Perito Moreno is marked by a mixture of glacial cracks (crevasses) and ice columns (seracs). These features are the result of shear stress within the glacier, as the “river of ice” cycles through periods of advancement and retreat. Where the glacier meets the lake, ice separates in a sonorous event called calving that happens almost daily. This spectacle has made Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination.

- Periodically, Moreno advances all the way to Peninsula Magallanes, acting as a natural dam and cutting off Brazo Rico from the rest of Lago Argentino. During such periods, Brazo Rico’s water muddies and its level rises. While the channel to Lago Argentino is open in this photo, evidence of this cyclical process is manifested in the higher tree line surrounding Brazo Rico. The rise and fall of the water creates a bathtub-ring separator between the shore and the lower forest. In contrast, the forests around Lago Argentino reach all the way to the lake’s edge.


Figure 5: This astronaut photograph ISS064-E-39659 was acquired on March 2, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1600 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 64 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth observatory, caption by Alex Stoken)

November 15, 2021: On Monday Moscow Standard Time, the International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control team was notified of indications of a satellite breakup that may create sufficient debris to pose a conjunction threat to the station. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released the following statement about the incident: 6)

- “Earlier today, due to the debris generated by the destructive Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts undertook emergency procedures for safety.

- “Like Secretary Blinken, I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.

- “All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment.

- “NASA will continue monitoring the debris in the coming days and beyond to ensure the safety of our crew in orbit.”

- The crew was awakened and directed to close the hatches to radial modules on the station, including Columbus, Kibo, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, and Quest Joint Airlock. Hatches between the U.S. and Russian segments remain open.

- An additional precautionary measure of sheltering the crew was executed for two passes through or near the vicinity of the debris cloud. The crew members made their way into their spacecraft shortly before 2 a.m. EST and remained there until about 4 a.m. The space station is passing through or near the cloud every 90 minutes, but the need to shelter for only the second and third passes of the event was based on a risk assessment made by the debris office and ballistics specialists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.


Figure 6: Astronauts and experiments on the International Space Station work to make life better on Earth and help humanity explore deep into the cosmos (image credit: NASA)

• November 15, 2021: In the past 20 years, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have shot millions of photographs of Earth. The collection offers more than just remarkable views of our home planet; it is a valuable tool for researchers. Christopher Small, of Columbia University, has found the nighttime images to be especially illuminating. By analyzing images of Earth at night, he is working to gain insight into how cities grow and evolve. 7)

- Small has been working to characterize the different types of lighting used across a variety of urban areas. Specifically, he wants to quantify things like the relative brightness, color, and areal abundance of different types of city lights. He has sorted through hundreds of photos of cities that were shot from the ISS, looking specifically for cities with lights in a wide range of colors and spatial configurations.


Figure 7: The montage shows 18 cities—from London to Singapore to Phoenix—with especially diverse nighttime lightscapes. The images are also relatively high in resolution: Each was shot with a 400 mm lens capable of resolving individual lights. Small then calibrated each of the images to have the same color temperature, so they could be compared directly. This montage was calibrated to 5500 Kelvin—about the same color temperature as sunlight (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

- In general, the warmer orange and yellow colors in the photographs are likely high-pressure sodium lights. Chicago, for example, has long been known for its widespread orange glow. (That is starting to change in recent years, however, as the city swaps in more LEDs.) Cooler greens and blues are likely mercury vapor lights. LEDs could also be contributing to the color.

- A key part of Small’s research has been trying to determine how much light comes from thoroughfares (highways and city streets) compared to individual lights (parking lot lights, façade lights, and billboards). He has found that “the light in urban environments comes almost entirely from outdoor lighting rather than from light transmitted from within buildings. And most of this light is on streets and roads.”


Figure 8: The ISS photographs of Paris (Figure 8) and Kuwait City (Figure 9) have been calibrated to a color temperature of 2200 Kelvin, typical of high-pressure sodium lights. These two cities display very different color and spatial configurations. Light in Paris comes almost entirely from streetlights—primarily yellow, but also blue and green. Avenue des Champs-Elysées appears white, likely because the brightness of the street lights and buildings saturated this part of the image. “Paris is probably the best example of the diversity of colors and spatial configurations that we are trying to quantify,” Small said (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)


Figure 9: The astronaut photograph ISS032-E-17635 (Kuwait City) was acquired on 9 August 2012, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 400 mm lens. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 32 crew. Astronaut photograph ISS043-E-93480 (Paris) was acquired on April 8, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 400 millimeter lens. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 43 crew. The images have been cropped, calibrated to common tint and white balance, and corrected for wavelength-dependent atmospheric transmission losses. Both photos (Figures 8 & 9) were provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Story by Kathryn Hansen (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

- The ability to resolve individual light sources and their color—from high resolution ISS photographs—together with repeat observations of night light brightness—from lower-resolution satellite sensors such as VIIRS—are helping scientists better understand urban growth. “The brightness and color of different types of lighting can help us distinguish different types of infrastructure related to the form and function of urban development,” Small said. “This informs our understanding of how spatial networks of development evolve during urban growth.”

- Small says that research is already showing that lights in most cities tend to display common network structures and often “emerge without centralized planning or design,” which could imply that cities follow similar growth processes no matter where they are. “The suggestion that the process of emergent behavior seems to be similar in cities all over the world is interesting in itself,” Christopher Small noted.

• November 14, 2021: An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph that captures a some of the essence of tidal features around the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago located just southwest of Cornwall, England. The archipelago includes up to 150 inhabited islands in the Celtic Sea. Pictured are St. Mary’s, Tresco, St. Martin’s, Bryher, and St. Agnes—the largest islands in the chain. 8)

- Some of the coastal waters surrounding the islands have a bright turquoise hue, indicating the presence of shallow reefs and shoals. Deeper waters have richer blue hues. This photo also captures swell patterns caused by waves that intersect one another as they move around the islands due to the westerly sea breeze.

- The Isles of Scilly are remnants of the underlying Cornubian Batholith—a mass of ancient volcanic rock (a plutonic intrusion) that formed the Cornish Peninsula. This intrusion originated with the crystallization of magma into igneous rock approximately 290 million years ago. It now sits an estimated 10 kilometers (6 miles) below the surface.

- Tides ebb and flow throughout the year and, at their lowest, can expose sandbars that allow people to walk between some islands. Low tides also can expose large rocks along the shore that are used by gray seals to bask in the sun. And bottlenose dolphins migrate with the tidal cycles here—most notably during high tides— in search of fish to feed on.


Figure 10: The astronaut photograph ISS065-E-93698 was acquired on June 8, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Amber Turner)

• November 13, 2021: NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, along with fellow veteran astronauts Michael Lopez-Alegria and Scott Kelly, were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame class of 2021 on Saturday, Nov. 13. Their induction ceremony, held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, brings the Hall of Fame’s membership to 102. 9)

- Melroy, Lopez-Alegria, and Kelly have spent a combined total of more than 635 days in space. They were honored for demonstrating outstanding accomplishments in furthering NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery.

- NASA Administrator Bill Nelson provided keynote remarks at the ceremony and former CNN space correspondent John Zarrella served as host. Both praised the inductees for their contributions to NASA's space program.

- “These three pioneers propelled upward and explored the heavens. They broke barriers and set records. They pushed the boundaries of humanity's reach,” Nelson said. “Pam, Michael, and Scott, congratulations on this well-earned recognition. And thank you for daring us to keep looking upward and pushing outward into the unknown.”

- Melroy was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1994. A veteran of three space shuttle missions, she served as pilot for two flights and commander for her third, making her one of only two women to command a space shuttle. Melroy logged more than 924 hours in space. She retired from NASA in 2007 and was sworn in as the agency’s deputy administrator on June 21, 2021.

- “It is a great honor to be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame together with my distinguished colleagues,” said Melroy. “Now we are building a program to achieve a series of objectives that will provide the blueprint to how we maintain a human presence in deep space as we explore the solar system, and then the universe. Those of us who had the incredible good fortune to go to space know that all of humanity is the crew of spaceship Earth, and it is our duty to care for each other and our home planet.”

- NASA selected Kelly as an astronaut in 1996. He served as pilot on his first space shuttle mission and commander on his second. In October 2010, Kelly launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-A spacecraft to serve a tour of duty aboard the International Space Station and commander of Expedition 26. In March 2015, Kelly returned to the space station for a one-year mission, serving as a flight engineer and then commander. During the mission, almost 400 experiments were conducted on the station.

- The agency selected Lopez-Alegria as an astronaut in 1992. He was a mission specialist for three flights aboard the space shuttle and served as commander of Expedition 14 aboard the space station from September 2006 to April 2007. Lopez-Alegria logged more than 257 days in space and performed 10 spacewalks, totaling 67 hours and 40 minutes.


Figure 11: NASA Deputy Administrator Pamela Melroy was one of three former astronauts inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, during a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Melroy received an official medal and became a member of the 19th class of space shuttle astronauts to be inducted (image credits: NASA, Kim Shiflett)

- The 2021 inductees were selected by a committee of Hall of Fame astronauts, former NASA officials, flight directors, historians, and journalists. The process is administered by the Astronaut Selection Foundation, which was founded by the original seven Mercury astronauts in 1984. To be eligible, an astronaut must have made his or her first flight at least 17 years before the induction and have been retired from NASA for at least five years. Each candidate must be a U.S. citizen and a NASA-trained commander, pilot, or mission specialist who has orbited Earth at least once.

- The Astronaut Selection Foundation has awarded more than $7 million to more than 600 college students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics studies.

• November 9, 2021: NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts safely splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida Monday aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, completing the agency’s second long-duration commercial crew mission to the International Space Station. The mission set a record for the longest spaceflight by a U.S. crewed spacecraft. The international crew of four spent 199 days in orbit, surpassing the 168 days set by NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission earlier this year. 10) 11)

- NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet returned to Earth in a parachute-assisted splashdown at 10:33 p.m. EST off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Crews aboard SpaceX recovery vessels successfully recovered the spacecraft and astronauts. After returning to shore, the astronauts will fly back to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

- “We’re happy to have Shane, Megan, Aki, and Thomas safely back on Earth after another successful, record-setting long-duration mission to the International Space Station,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson. “Congratulations to the teams at NASA and SpaceX who worked so hard to ensure their successful splashdown. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program continues to demonstrate safe, reliable transportation to conduct important science and maintenance on the space station.”

- The Crew-2 mission launched April 23 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station April 24, nearly 24-hours after liftoff.

- Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet traveled 84,653,119 statute miles during their mission, stayed 198 days aboard the space station, and completed 3,194 orbits around Earth.

- Throughout their mission, the Crew-2 astronauts contributed to a host of science and maintenance activities, scientific investigations, and technology demonstrations. In addition, they conducted four spacewalks and multiple public engagement events while aboard the orbiting laboratory. They studied how gaseous flames behave in microgravity, grew hatch green chiles in the station’s Plant Habitat Facility, installed free-flying robotic assistants, and even donned virtual reality goggles to test new methods of exercising in space, among many other scientific activities. The astronauts took hundreds of pictures of Earth as part of the Crew Earth Observation investigation, one of the longest-running investigations aboard the space station, which contributes to tracking of natural disasters and changes to our home planet.


Figure 12: ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, left, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Aki Hoshide, right, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is the second operational mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (image credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

- Kimbrough, Hoshide, and Pesquet also completed four spacewalks to install, deploy, or otherwise prepare for installation of ISS Roll-out Solar Arrays. This brought the total number of spacewalks for Kimbrough, Hoshide, and Pesquet to nine, four, and six, respectively. The fourth spacewalk, conducted by Hoshide and Pesquet on Sept. 12, was the first in the history of the space station that did not include an American or Russian.

- On July 21, all four Crew-2 astronauts boarded Endeavour for a port relocation maneuver, moving their spacecraft from the forward-facing port to the space-facing port on the station’s Harmony module.

- The Crew-2 flight is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which has worked with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil to the space station. The splashdown of Crew-2 comes just before the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission, currently scheduled for no earlier than Wednesday, Nov. 10, on another long duration mission of approximately six months.

- Endeavour will return for inspection and processing to SpaceX’s Dragon Lair in Florida, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight.

- Following Crew-3’s launch, the next NASA and SpaceX crew rotation mission is Crew-4, currently targeted for launch in April 2022. Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth shortly after welcoming their Crew-4 colleagues to the orbiting laboratory.

- The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station. This already has provided additional research time and has increased the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s microgravity testbed for exploration, including helping NASA prepare for human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

• November 7, 2021: An astronaut onboard the International Space Station shot this panoramic, west-looking photograph of cloudscapes around Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s largest islands. The image also shows the smaller, neighboring Bangka and Belitung Islands, the Java Sea, and the west coast of Borneo (far right margin, above the solar panel). The long, bright clouds—generated by thunderstorms—cast dark shadows on the land and sea below. The brightest zone of the Sun’s reflection on the water (sunglint) highlights the narrow strait between Sumatra and the islands. Singapore is hidden beneath a thunderstorm. 12)

- On the day this photo was taken, winds were blowing from the northeast (right to left in this view). After crossing the Java Sea, the moist air would have risen as it was heated. Such heating likely caused thunderstorms to form over each island.

- The tops of some of the storms were sheared off by winds to form clouds with flattened upper surfaces; these as called anvil clouds. Winds can extend anvils across great distances, making long, narrow tails. The big anvil that starts over Bangka Island stretches about 200 kilometers (120 miles) across Sumatra into the Indian Ocean. Other anvil clouds formed where air was forced to rise over the high Barisan Mountains on Sumatra’s southwest coast (far left). Small cumulus clouds also formed over the small line of Mentawai Islands (top left).

- Cloud-free zones appear over the Java Sea and the Indian Ocean. Both zones lie downwind of landmasses (Borneo and Sumatra), with air apparently descending onto the sea surface on this day. Descending air usually suppresses cloud formation.


Figure 13: This astronaut photograph ISS065-E-168303 was acquired on July 18, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 35 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Justin Wilkinson)

• November 4, 2021: Four International Space Station astronauts continue packing their U.S. spacecraft as they plan for a return to Earth this month. Meanwhile, the Expedition 66 crew continued its ongoing space research and maintenance aboard the orbital lab. 13)

- Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, who are also the commander and pilot of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission respectively, have been loading and readying the Crew Dragon Endeavour for its upcoming undocking and splashdown. The duo may undock for the ride back to Earth as early as Sunday, Nov. 7, with astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) ending a mission that began in April. NASA and SpaceX are continuing to review launch and return opportunities for Crew-3 and Crew-2, respectively.

- Kimbrough also spent the day uninstalling incubator components before inspecting portable emergency gear. McArthur photographed a variety of space station tools for a survey. Hoshide replaced air filters as Pesquet organized cables and checked camera sensors.

- NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who is over halfway through his near yearlong mission, opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox on Thursday morning and began setting up a semiconductor crystal experiment. The study takes advantage of microgravity and lessons from previous studies to produce higher-quality semiconductor crystals potentially resulting in smaller, more powerful electronic devices.

- The station’s two cosmonauts, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos, focused their activities today on the docked ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships. The duo checked docking components on the both cargo craft while also unpacking science gear from the Progress 79 spacecraft.


Figure 14: The city lights of southern India and the island nation of Sri Lanka, beneath the Earth’s airglow, are pictured from the station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean (image credit: NASA)

• November 4, 2021: NASA and SpaceX continue to review launch and return opportunities for the upcoming crew rotation flights to and from the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. 14)

- Mission teams now are considering whether to return the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission from the space station ahead of launching the next crew rotation due to the associated weather considerations for both launch and recovery operations.

- The earliest possible opportunity for Crew-2 undocking from the space station is at 1:05 p.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 7, to begin the return trip to Earth for splashdown off the coast of Florida. A back-up undocking opportunity also is available Monday, Nov. 8.

- The earliest possible opportunity for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 launch is 9:51 p.m. EST Monday, Nov. 8, if mission teams do not pursue Crew-2 return on Sunday, Nov. 7 or Monday. Nov. 8.

- Mission teams will make a final decision on whether to prioritize Crew-3’s launch or Crew-2’s return in the coming days based on the likelihood of favorable conditions for a Crew Dragon splashdown or Crew Dragon launch. NASA and SpaceX also are reviewing the time needed between launch or return operations.


Figure 15: NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough (second from left), Thomas Pesquet (middle), Akihiko Hoshide (second from right), and Megan McArthur (far right) are photographed aboard the International Space Station, just before they prepare to sample freshly harvested mild heat chile peppers on Oct. 29, 2021. Mission teams are considering whether to return the Crew-2 mission ahead of launching the next crew rotation, with the earliest possible opportunity for undocking at 1:05 p.m. EST on Nov. 7. At far left is NASA astronaut and Expedition 66 flight engineer Mark Vande Hei, who will remain at the station to welcome NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts when they arrive (photo credit: NASA)

• October 30, 2021: An astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of the Acarnanian Mountains and the neighboring Ionian Islands of Greece. This oblique shot highlights the rugged topography of the coastal region along the western edge of the country. (Note that north is to the left.) 15)

- At almost 1,160 meters (3,800 feet) above sea level, Psili Koryfi is the largest mountain peak in the Acarnanian range (known locally as Akarnanika Ori). Low clouds obscure the peak in this image. The Acarnanians are a relatively small range of limestone mountains on the Balkan Peninsula.

- Between the mountains and the sea, Lake Voulkarias is a protected wetland and refuge for many endangered migratory birds. The shallow lake was created by a combination of tectonic activity, karstification, and sedimentation. Like Lake Voulkarias, the Ionian Islands and surrounding water also include protected areas for threatened birds and marine life like the Mediterranean monk seal.

- The islands of Kastos, Kalamos, Meganisi, and Lefkada are a few of many in the Ionian Sea. Located between Italy and Greece, this marginal sea is a part of the larger Mediterranean. This area is the most seismically active region in the eastern Mediterranean, and the nearby coasts have experienced multiple tsunamis over the past few thousand years.

- Though most of the islands were formed due to natural processes, Lefkada was originally a part of mainland Greece. When the Lefkas Canal was constructed more than 2,500 years ago, it separated Lefkada from Greece. The small canal was built for easier water transportation between the islands in the Ionian Sea and the mainland, similar to the Corinth Canal in southern Greece.


Figure 16: Rugged mountains and islands stand out in this tectonically active region. This astronaut photograph ISS064-E-10556 was acquired on December 6, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 400 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 64 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Sara Schmidt)

• October 28, 2021: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet from France began Alpha - his second mission to the International Space Station - on 23 April 2021. 16)

Figure 17: Launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, USA, on the second operational flight of SpaceX Crew Dragon, Thomas has now spent around six months in orbit on mission Alpha. In addition to science experiments, he has taken part in four spacewalks and countless scientific investigations. On 4 October Thomas became the fourth European International Space Station Commander. He is now the ESA astronaut with the most total time spent in space and on spacewalks (video credit: ESA)

• October 24, 2021: The city and port of Palma is captured in great detail in this photograph taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS). This capital city of the Balearic Islands (part of Spain) is situated on the largest island of Mallorca, east of the Iberian Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Sunglint highlights boat wakes throughout the marinas and the greater Bay of Palma. 17)

- Palma has a rich history that has been influenced by several civilizations, including the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Moors, before becoming a province of Spain. This compact coastal city and its port continues to act as a pivotal location along Mediterranean trade routes, and it is the largest port in the Balearic Islands today.

- Overlooking the city is the Bellver Castle, built in the 14th century as a royal residence for the rulers of Mallorca. The castle has seen many different uses over the years, and it is now one of the island’s main tourist attractions and home to the Palma History Museum.


Figure 18: The astronaut photograph ISS065-E-93057 was acquired on June 7, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Laura Phoebus)

• October 18, 2021: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is spending six months on the International Space Station as part of his second mission 'Alpha'. In his free time, like many astronauts, he enjoys looking out of the Cupola windows at Earth. This picture shows Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at night. 18)


Figure 19: The image was taken on 29 August 2021. The ISS flies at roughly 400 km altitude so Thomas uses the longest lenses available onboard (image credits: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet)

• October 17, 2021: The Bighorn River flows through much of north-central Wyoming and southern Montana, cutting through the rugged and angular terrain of the Bighorn Basin. Red rocks and complex geology are distinctive features of this physiographic region. The semi-arid climate creates a sparsely vegetated environment where dramatic geologic structures are easily identified from space and from the ground. 19)

- An astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS) looked westward to take this photo, capturing the shadows from the local sunrise. Along the right side of this image, the Bighorn River is almost hidden amid the mountains due to the shadows cast into Sheep Canyon.

- Located in Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains, Bighorn Basin is a large, oval-shaped depression and home to many rivers and geologic formations. This photo is centered on the Sheep Mountain anticline, a type of fold that forms due to compressional stress on rock layers. Geologic structures like this anticline are found throughout the Bighorn Basin and many are associated with oil and gas reservoirs.


Figure 20: The astronaut photograph ISS065-E-22937 was acquired on May 6, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Sara Schmidt)

• October 17, 2021: Timelapse video made during ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s second mission to the International Space Station, “Alpha”. The camera is setup to take pictures at intervals of two a second, and the pictures are then edited into this video that plays at 25 pictures a second. The video is around 12 times faster than real speed. 20)

Figure 21: Thomas shared this video on social media with the caption: “Sometimes aurora seem to creep over the horizon and envelop our globe. Under the technological powerhouse of Canadarm, the Station's solar panels and one of our radio antennas, this timelapse passes the aurora so you can marvel at the stars and ends on a sunrise.” (video credit: ESA/NASA)

• October 14, 2021: A veteran cosmonaut will soon lead two Russian spaceflight participants on a ride through Earth’s atmosphere to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan this weekend. Meanwhile, the rest of the Expedition 65 crew stayed focused on a multitude of science, cargo, and maintenance activities throughout Thursday. 21)

- Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy will complete his third station mission when he undocks from the Nauka multipurpose laboratory on Saturday at 9:14 p.m. EDT inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. He, with the station’s two filmmaking guests Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko riding alongside him, will touchdown on the Kazakh steppe on Sunday at 12:36 a.m. (10:36 a.m. Kazakh time).

- Novitskiy has been packing the Soyuz spacecraft for several days with station hardware, science samples and personal items. He has also been practicing Soyuz descent techniques and training for the departure maneuvers on a Russian computer. The three-time station resident, with assistance from cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, has also been testing a specialized suit, the lower body negative pressure suit, that may help his body adjust quickly to Earth’s gravity after 191 days in space.

- The station’s three NASA flight engineers had their hands full today with a host of research and lab upkeep activities in the orbiting lab’s U.S. segment. Megan McArthur swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack then performed simulated robotic tasks for a cognition test. Shane Kimbrough had some light plumbing duties during the morning before continuing cargo work inside the Cygnus space freighter. Mark Vande Hei, who is staying on the station for nearly a year, filmed a video about safety in space for students on Earth then worked on life support and networking gear.

- The two international astronauts, Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide, spent some time in their respective modules, Europe’s Columbus laboratory and Japan’s Kibo laboratory, ensuring smooth lab operations. Pesquet, of ESA (European Space Agency), serviced a variety of science freezers inside Columbus. Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) reorganized stowage space inside Kibo making room for new science gear soon to be delivered on the next SpaceX Cargo Dragon mission.

- Over in the station’s Russian segment, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov worked on an exercise study and dismantled a radiation detector. Dubrov downloaded and checked radiation data then configured radiation sensors, or dosimeters.


Figure 22: The ten station inhabitants are gathered together in the Unity module for a meal and a portrait. In the front row (from left) are, Mark Vande Hei, Klim Shipenko, Pyotr Dubrov, and Megan McArthur. In the back row (from left) are, Akihiko Hoshide, Anton Shkaplerov, Thomas Pesquet, Yulia Peresild, Oleg Novitskiy, and Shane Kimbrough (image credit: NASA)

• October 12, 2021: Solar Cycle 25 is underway, and that means more frequent opportunities to see auroras—more commonly known as the northern lights and the southern lights. One of the best opportunities in recent years occurred on October 11-12, 2021. 22)


Figure 23: In the early morning hours of October 12, 2021, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite acquired images of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, around the Northern Hemisphere. The scene above is a mosaic of several satellite passes showing auroras over eastern North America, the North Atlantic, and Greenland. The nighttime satellite image was acquired with VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe signals such as airglow, auroras, city lights, and reflected moonlight (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

- That same night, astronaut Shane Kimbrough photographed the aurora (image below) from his perch on the International Space Station. The night brought the first sustained, widespread glance at the northern lights for mid-latitude viewers in several years. Many photographers and aurora chasers captured photos that night, some of which were shared with the Aurorasaurus citizen science project.


Figure 24: Astronaut photograph acquired on October 12, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera. The photograph was provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership. Story by Michael Carlowicz.

- Solar cycles track the activity level of the Sun, our nearest star. A cycle is traditionally measured by the rise and fall in the number of sunspots, but it also coincides with increases in solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs), radio emissions, and other forms of space weather. These bursts of magnetized plasma and energetic waves from the Sun’s atmosphere energize the gases and particles in Earth’s magnetosphere and send them plunging down in colorful light displays in the upper atmosphere. Scientists have forecasted the next peak of solar activity (solar maximum) will be reached in mid-2025.

- According to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, the Sun erupted with a solar flare and CME on October 9, 2021, and the storm arrived at Earth late on October 11. Geomagnetic storm activity reached G2 on a scale from G1 to G5. It was likely the first head-on CME impact of the new solar cycle. NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO-A) and the Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the flare and CME.

- You can participate in aurora citizen science through Aurorasaurus. The project team tracks auroras around the world via reports to its website and on Twitter, then generates a real-time global map of those reports. Citizen scientists log in and verify the tweets and reports, and each verified sighting serves as a valuable data point for scientists to analyze and incorporate into space weather models. The Aurorasaurus team, in collaboration with citizen scientists and the scientific community, published the first scientific study of Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE), an aurora-like phenomenon that appears closer to the equator and flows from east to west. The project is a public-private partnership with the New Mexico Consortium supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

• October 9, 2021: Situated in the South China Sea, the large island of Hainan is China’s southernmost province, spanning approximately 339,000 hectares (3390 km2 or 1,300 square miles). This photograph, taken by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS), focuses on the landscape around Gangmen Harbor and captures many typical characteristics of Hainan: forested mountain terrain juxtaposed with dense populations. Cleared lands show up with bright orange and red soils that owe their color to the oxidation of iron-rich sediments. The coasts are lined with tropical beaches, while the inner bays are lined with floating fishing villages often built in a grid-like patterns in shallow waters. 23)

- Língshui Li Autonomous County, at the south end of Hainan, sustains a large nomadic sea community. China is already a world leader in wild catch fish production, and fish farming is rapidly expanding. China grows nearly 60 percent of the world’s farmed fish, particularly for carp and tilapia. These aquaculture sites are often paired with fishing ports (such as Gangmen) that provide efficient transport for fish, machinery, and construction materials needed to sustain aquacultural production.


Figure 25: This astronaut photograph ISS065-E-31198 was acquired on May 9, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Amber Turner and Andrea Meado)

• October 5, 2021: The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko docked to the International Space Station at 8:22 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 260 miles above Earth to the north of the Philippine islands. 24)

- The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, actress Yulia Peresild and producer Klim Shipenko docked to the International Space Station at 8:22 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 260 miles (~400 km) above Earth to the north of the Philippine islands.

- When the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks, the trio will join Expedition 65 Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Aki Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

- Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at 9:30 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for about 10 a.m.


Figure 26: Five spaceships are parked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter; the SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle; and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 and MS-19 crew ships and ISS Progress 78 resupply ship (image credit: NASA)

• October 5, 2021: A Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station Oct. 5 carrying a cosmonaut as well as an actress and director who will film scenes for a Russian movie. 25)

- A Soyuz-2 rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:55 a.m. EDT (08:55 UTC) and placed the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft into orbit. The Soyuz docked with the Rassvet module of the ISS at 8:22 a.m. EDT after a two-orbit approach. The spacecraft’s commander, Anton Shkaplerov, had to perform a manual docking after a problem with the automated Kurs docking system.

- Shkaplerov is a veteran Roscosmos cosmonaut who has spent 533 days in space on three long-duration ISS expeditions. The other two people on the spacecraft were spaceflight participants: Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko. They will film scenes for a Russian movie called Vyzov or Challenge, directed by Shipenko and starring Peresild.

- In the movie, Peresild plays a doctor sent to the space station to perform heart surgery on a cosmonaut so he can return home. She was selected as part of an open casting call that resulted in about 3,000 applications. Shipenko is the movie’s director and will serve as camera operator and other roles while on the station.

- Peresild and Shipenko will spend 12 days in space, filming scenes primarily in the Russian segment of the station. Some scenes will be shot in the cupola in the U.S. segment of the station. For those scenes, they will be escorted by NASA astronauts under terms of an agreement governing spaceflight participants on the station. About a half-hour of footage for Vyzov will be shot on the station, with the rest of the movie filmed on Earth after the mission.

- The two spaceflight participants will return on the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft that has been docked to the station since April. Oleg Novitskiy, commander of that spacecraft, will return to Earth with Peresild and Shipenko.

- Shkaplerov will remain on the station with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, who flew to the station on MS-18. They will remain until March 2022, meaning that Dubrov and Vande Hei will have spent nearly one year in space, a record for an American astronaut.

- Vande Hei said before his launch that the film would likely mean he would spend up to a year, rather than six months, on the ISS. “The opportunity to experience this with wonderful crewmates while contributing to science and future exploration is exciting!” he wrote in September, when NASA confirmed the extended mission.


Figure 27: Actress Yulia Peresild (left) and director Klim Shipenko (right) joined Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft that flew to the ISS Oct. 5 (image credit: Roscosmos)

- Vyzov is often described as the first movie filmed in space, but it is more accurate to call it the first feature-length drama filmed in space. Several documentaries, including large-format Imax films, have been filmed in space. In 2008, private astronaut Richard Garriott filmed a short movie, Apogee of Fear, during a visit to the ISS. The eight-minute humorous science-fiction film featured Garriott and several astronauts and cosmonauts on the station.

• October 4, 2021: Expedition 65 Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will hand over command of the International Space Station today to ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet. Pesquet will command the station until he departs with Hoshide and NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough in mid-to-late November. 26)


Figure 28: European astronaut Thomas Pesquet takes command of the space station from Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide today (image credit: NASA)

- The four crewmates have been living on the orbital lab since April when they arrived aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. The quartet will return to Earth next month inside Endeavour and parachute to a splashdown off the coast of Florida completing a six-month stay in space.

- About 12 hours after Pesquet takes command of the orbiting lab, three Russian crewmates will launch toward the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Soyuz Commander Anton Shkaplerov will ride inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship in between spaceflight participants Klim Shipenko and Yulia Peresild.

- The trio will lift off inside the Soyuz MS-19 crew ship at 4:55 a.m. EDT on Tuesday (5 October) and orbit the Earth twice before docking to the Rassvet module less than three-and-a-half hours later. Shkaplerov will stay in space until April while Shipenko and Yulia Peresild will return to Earth about 12 days later. The two spaceflight participants will ride back to Earth and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan inside the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship with Roscosmos Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy.

- NASA TV starts its live coverage of the change of command ceremony today at 3:20 p.m. EDT on the NASA app and the agency’s website. NASA TV will be back on the air on Tuesday at 4:15 a.m. broadcasting the launch, docking and crew greeting at the space station of the new Russian trio.

- The seven residents aboard the station today started the work week servicing a variety of research hardware. Kimbrough cleaned the Life Science Glovebox today following two weeks of rodent research activities. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei swapped fuel bottles inside the Combustion Integrated Rack and also helped McArthur organize food to open up more space on the station.

- Hoshide installed the Tele-Luminescence Analysis System that observes tissues and genes in small animals in the Kibo laboratory module. Pesquet set up the Fluidics experiment for a couple of runs today to better understand how fuels behave in spacecraft fuel tanks.

• October 3, 2021: An astronaut onboard the International Space Station shot this photograph of Lake Pueyrredón and Lake Posadas in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina. Snow-covered foothills of the Andes Mountains appear along the lower margin. Streaks on the lake surface are produced by the strong winds that are very common in the region. The dark shadow of a cloud falls on the surface of Lake Posadas. Though the permanent population is small, tourism brings many people to Patagonia’s lake region; the small airstrip and lakeside road aid with arrivals. 27)

- Rivers from the local hills have dumped sediment on the shores of the lakes to form small deltas. Three are prominent on the shore of Lake Pueyrredón. (To the west in Chile, Lake Pueyrredón is known as Lake Cochrane.) Very strong and persistent winds have generated waves and currents powerful enough to erode sand from the toes of the fan-deltas, creating long, thin sand spits pointing down-current.

- The biggest delta is connected to the opposite shore by a sand bar 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) long; it actually may be an ancient moraine. This sand bar cut off the eastern end of Lake Pueyrredón to form the smaller Lake Posadas. Posadas is lighter in color because of the light-toned sediment flowing into it from the incoming river.

- Land surfaces here have been dynamic in the past one or two million years. Geologists now know that ice sheets that formed along the nearby Andes Mountains have expanded repeatedly, each time covering the entire area shown in the photo. Other astronaut photos such as this one show the Northern Patagonian ice sheet that affected Lake Pueyrredón.


Figure 29: This astronaut photograph ISS063-E-88524 was acquired on September 15, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 800 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 63 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Justin Wilkinson)

• September 28, 2021: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet with the Lumina experiment during his Alpha mission on the International Space Station, 25 August 2021. 28)

- The Lumina experiment will demonstrate the reliability of a fibre-optic dosimeter in measuring radiation ionizing inside the International Space Station. The Lumina technology demonstration features two spools of kilometer-long fibres that will improve our understanding of how fibre optic cables cope with long-duration spaceflight. This knowledge is essential as we prepare to protect astronauts and hardware on longer missions farther from Earth.


Figure 30: Thomas commented on this picture: "Another black box experiment, called Lumina. Inside are fibre optic cables, not to bring us ultra-fast internet (it is already rather good to be honest, given that we’re in space!) but to test new technology to monitor radiation. This CNES experiment in collaboration with the radiation experts CERN, iXBlue and LabHC, will see if fibre optic cables are a viable technology to monitor the ionizing radiation we receive inside the Space Station. Inside the box are kms of cables, that are both light-weight and take up little space, two premiums for spaceflight. " (image credit: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet)

• September 26, 2021: In this photograph taken by a cosmonaut on the International Space Station, the water cascading through Niagara Gorge and the three waterfalls between Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, are easily identified by their white foam and spray. Shadows accentuate the depth of the canyon that the Niagara River has carved over the past 12,000 years. Meanwhile, the falls are slowly receding upstream as erosion whittles away the underlying rock. 29)

- More than 750,000 gallons of water (340 m3) flows from the Lake Erie basin, over the falls, and into the Lake Ontario basin every second. Goat Island and Luna Island sit in the middle of the Niagara River and divert the channel into three distinct falls. The largest, Horseshoe Falls, has not always had its namesake shape. What once was a gentle crescent has become a deep horseshoe as the middle of the ledge has retreated more quickly than the edges. The other two falls, American and Bridal Veil, were conjoined until the waterfall line receded into Luna Island. The land now acts as a separator between the two watery curtains.

- While the falls and river channel were long in the making, the human influence on the region is relatively recent. Since the 1950s, the U.S. and Canada have undertaken projects to preserve the falls from further erosion and to harness the hydroelectric power of the flow. The International Niagara Control Works is a water diversion mechanism designed to send more water toward the American and Bridal Veil falls and to channel some of it toward power plant intakes. The U.S. and Canadian power stations near the falls are a critical part of the region’s energy supply.


Figure 31: The astronaut photograph ISS064-E-533177 was acquired on April 2, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1000 mm. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 64 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Alex Stoken)

• September 25, 2021: A volcanic eruption on La Palma in the Canary Islands (Spain) has destroyed hundreds of homes and led thousands of people to evacuate. The proximity of the lava to developed areas is especially apparent in this photograph, shot with a handheld camera on September 22, 2021, by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS). 30)

- The eruption began on September 19 from fissures on the western flanks of Cumbre Vieja, an elongated volcanic range spanning the southern two-thirds of the island. Observers reported an initial explosion that day that lofted ash and gas thousands of feet into the air.

- Pulsating fountains of lava have since been feeding lava flows running downslope, engulfing trees, banana plantations, homes, and infrastructure. According to news reports, more than 5,000 people evacuated as lava flows threatened neighborhoods in El Paso, Los Llanos de Aridan, and Tazacorte. Ashfall and sulfur dioxide emissions affected nearby communities as well.

- La Palma is one of the youngest of the Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the west coast of Morocco. La Palma’s Cumbre Vieja last erupted in 1971. “While 50 years is a relatively long time for humans, it’s a geological moment in terms of this very active volcano,” said William Stefanov, a remote sensing scientist for the International Space Station science office.

- Stefanov previously wrote about La Palma in 2008, describing geologic features visible in an astronaut photograph of the same area. By day, it becomes easy to see Cumbre Vieja’s numerous cinder cones, craters, and lava flows.


Figure 32: An astronaut photograph shows the proximity of a volcanic eruption to nearby cities on the Spanish island of La Palma. The photograph was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, Story by Kathryn Hansen)

• September 23, 2021: The Expedition 65 astronauts are moving full speed ahead today studying how living in space affects skin processes. The International Space Station is also gearing up for a busy period of spaceship activities. 31)

- Rodents continue to be observed aboard the orbiting lab today so scientists can identify genes and observe cell functions that are impacted by weightlessness and affect skin processes. The Rodent Research-1 Demonstration will take place until next week when the mice are transferred into the SpaceX Cargo Dragon vehicle for return and examination on Earth.

- NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough partnered with ESA (European Space Agency) Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet for the space biology study today taking place inside the Kibo laboratory module. NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei is assisting the astronauts with the rodent research, helping them with operations in the Life Science Glovebox.

- Commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spent Thursday morning exploring how weightlessness affects microbes living on the station. He extracted DNA earlier this week from microbe samples he swabbed from surfaces inside the station. Today, Hoshide prepared the DNA for onboard sequencing to help researchers understand the microbial environment of the station and future spacecraft.

- In the Russian segment of the orbital lab, Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov are familiarizing themselves with the procedures for next week’s relocation of their Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The duo, along with Vande Hei, will take a short ride in the Soyuz on Tuesday when they undock from the Rassvet module at 8:21 a.m. EDT.

- They will temporarily maneuver toward the station’s U.S. segment where they will photograph the orbiting lab’s configuration. Shortly after that, they will move back toward the Russian segment and redock to the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module at around 9 a.m.


Figure 33: NASA Flight Engineers Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Mark Vande Hei work inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module (image credit: NASA)

• September 21, 2021: ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is spending six months on the International Space Station as part of his second mission "Alpha". In his free time, like many astronauts, he enjoys looking out of the Cupola windows at Earth. This collage of pictures shows the Florida Keys, USA, made from around 80 pictures mapped together, digitally rotated and assembled into this large collage. The images were taken on 28 April 2021 from 16:40 GMT. 32)


Figure 34: Thomas asked to have the series of highly zoomed-in pictures aligned into this collage to show the area in detail. The International Space Station flies at roughly 400 km altitude so Thomas uses the longest lenses available onboard (image credit: ESA/NASA–T. Pesquet/W. Harold)

• September 19, 2021: An astronaut onboard the International Space Station (ISS) shot this photograph of the northwestern portion of Noirmoutier, a small tidal island about 20 km long on the western coast of France. Taken at approximately 1:00 p.m. local time, the image highlights exposed mudflats, salt marshes, and sand dunes visible at low tide, as well as the small communities and farms of the island. 33)

- Access to Noirmoutier historically required well-timed traversing of the Passage du Gois (out of the frame to the southeast), a causeway linking the island to the mainland. A bridge was constructed in 1971 to permit travel during high tide, which still floods the lowland passage twice a day. Meanwhile, several boats leave white wakes off the north and west side of the island as they travel to and from the deep-water fishing port at L’Herbaudiere.

- The exposed mudflats surrounding the island are teeming with shellfish. Oyster aquaculture is widespread in the bay, and several of the associated fish-farming structures stand out along the coast during low tide.

- Locals also reap another sort of harvest from the salt marshes. Salt, or “white gold,” is collected from a series of channels and pools as the water evaporates in the summer months.


Figure 35: This astronaut photograph ISS065-E-111745 was acquired on June 12, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 65 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed (image credit: NASA Earth Observatory, caption by Laura Phoebus)