ISS stories

 
Astronaut Don Petit realized something that never crosses our minds when we pop open our mailboxes everyday: why doesn't the International Space Station have an address? Because it isn't stationary and rotates around the Earth? So he made one up based on his precise ISS module location.
 
Last month, an Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) arrived at the International Space Station with a load of oxygen, water, food, clothing, hardware, fuel and spare parts. One of the resident astronauts aboard the station snapped this image of the ATV firing its thrusters as it moved in for docking.
 
Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped an amazing photo of a glowing copper crater as the ISS passed over Africa recently. The shot is so otherworldly it would be easy to mistake this giant geological formation as something you'd find on Mars or Jupiter. The mysterious crater is known as the Richat Structure.
 
ISS astronauts were ordered into the space version of an emergency lifeboat last Friday when Mission Control identified an old piece of a Russian communications satellite was projected to come close to the space station. Normal procedure calls for the ISS itself to take evasive maneuvers, but the threat was spotted too late in this case to plot a move.
 
Mars500, a 520-day simulation conducted by the European Space Agency and Russia's Roscosmos, wrapped up late last year. Mars500 took place here on Earth; NASA, looking to conduct a similar test, is thinking of taking the project onto the International Space Station for more accurate conditions.
 
Private spaceflight has been inching along for the last several years, but next month may be a major stepping stone for the industry: SpaceX's Dragon capsule is scheduled to launch on April 30 on an unmanned cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station, offering NASA (and anyone else) a significantly cheaper way to get to orbit.

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