June 7, 2011

Historic Photographs of the Shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station

Absolutely stunning photography! On May 23, 2011, when space shuttle Endeavour was docked to the International Space Station, astronaut Paolo Nespoli took a series of historic photos of the shuttle at the station as the Soyuz spacecraft departed. This sight has never before been photographed together from a distance, and due to the shuttles' premature retirement, will never again be possible. Together, they represent perhaps the greatest technological feat of mankind, and perhaps the most complex machinery ever built. As Soyuz moved away from ISS, the entire station was turned to allow a variety of views to be forever recorded. The station itself was rotated rather than the more nimble Soyuz maneuvered so as to keep the views out of the sun. (click each photo for full size).

You can see Endeavour's Canadian robotic arm extended around to her underside, perhaps inspecting tiles for damage. The arm was transplanted before her departure to serve continued duty on ISS.

Here's the link for the complete set of photographs. Save them to your computer and you can make them your desktop image. Credit NASA/Paolo Nespoli.

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