back to article Unique imagery of Shuttle docked to ISS released

There's been something of a wait for it, but unique imagery showing the International Space Station with a Space Shuttle docked has now been released. The vid above and photo below were taken from a Soyuz spacecraft which departed the station on 23 May carrying Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman …


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  1. Tegne
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic footage. Blue Danube Soundtrack required.

    If it doesn't already. I don't have sound at work.

  2. phuzz Silver badge


    That is a sight I'd love to see in person. Now, why do we only have one of those in orbit?

  3. Stanislaw
    Thumb Up


    Nice to see the ATV there too. Presumably this configuration is about as big as the ISS has ever been or will ever be.

    Now, strap on some boosters and let's go explore the solar system, eh?

  4. The Real Tony Smith
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    That is sooooo cool

  5. Graham Bartlett


    Have you checked recently how much it cost, and what we're getting out of it?

    Don't get me wrong, I think getting ourselves a permanent space base is the essential first step to permanent settlements somewhere other than this planet. Problem is that it's cost a vast amount of money, global politics and finance have made substantial dents in getting it running in the intended timeframe with the intended facilities, and its location means that quite a few potential gains from a permanent space base just aren't happening anyway.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Vast amount of money?

      Pocket change, compared to the arms industry. And the bank bailout could have bought a dozen of the ISS. Stupid fucking priorities. We should have tens of thousands of humans working daily in space by now.

  6. . 3

    Big shuttle is big

    Shuttle is not exactly dwarfed by the ISS, but a lot of the area is solar panels. Can't help but wonder how many shuttle trips before you might as well have just ridden the ISS into orbit.

  7. Virag0

    shuttle should stay up there

    That looks fantastic. Why don't they keep a shuttle up there, for extra space, additional booster thrust for orbital adjustments and an escape/safety pod for emergencies?

    1. James Hughes 1


      I think it's 'cos the shuttle has a limited battery system, and no solar panels, which is why its stay in orbit is limited, even when attached to the ISS.

    2. Aleph0

      Re: shuttle should stay up there

      We can't, because shuttles haven't got solar panels. Their electricity is provided by fuel cells, which entails their max autonomy is about two weeks; in the '70s energy efficiency wasn't a major project consideration for crew-carrying space vehicles.

      A shuttle could probably be made to work with a hookup to the ISS power systems, but then its usefulness as lifeboat would be moot.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        "We can't, because shuttles haven't got solar panels. Their electricity is provided by fuel cells, which entails their max autonomy is about two weeks; in the '70s energy efficiency wasn't a major project consideration for crew-carrying space vehicles."

        I thought this also. It is no longer the case.

        "A shuttle could probably be made to work with a hookup to the ISS power systems,"

        This *does* exist and the Shuttle is modified to use it, but it came late to the party The burn to undock and trigger reentry comes from storable propellants and they have on orbit storage for *years*. Likewise the APU's that drive the control surfaces use a storable monopropellant.

        *But* the electrics, including the flight computers run off those fuel cells. US crewed spacecraft have *always* used H2/O2 fuel cells since Gemini as they supply drinking water and it's quite a power requirement (9-12Kw on takeoff/landing IIRC) to keep up for up to 14 days.

        That would make Shuttle problematical for emergency undocking/return to Earth.

        I'd like to think a modern design would make different trades. NASA *should* have either learned to get comfortable with *long* term on orbit cryogenic storage or gone the other way with a direct drive electrical generation system off a mono propellant APU, ideally with electric actuators (you might like to find a report called "The electric shuttle" written in the mid 80s). Note that Hydrogen peroxide *is* such a monopropellant but can be catalytic ally broken down into water and Oxygen. It's dense and *relatively* safe to handle (heavy rubber gloves and overalls, not nerve gas proof suits and separate air supplies). The boiling hot O2/steam mix coming from a cat pack is hypergolic with pretty much any reasonable hydrocarbon.

        However it fails the NASA "Performance uber alles" test being inferior (but currently 6x cheaper) than the nasty MMH/NTO/UDMH stuff Shuttle uses for it's different systems.

        Solar panels are a red herring. A Smart car battery pack could do the re-entry (but *not* the on orbit power and NASA would worry about "But what if you can't open the cargo bay doors, you'll run out of power with no way to recharge the batteries for the reentry".

        The development of Shuttle systems really failed to find or use *any* cross sub system efficiencies.

      2. Charles Manning


        No solar panels. Fit some.

        Power hungry systems... Much of those are not needed. No need for guidance etc. Turn these loads off. Replace other loads with lower lower stuff.

        Your average LED-fondling greenie can show you what to do.

  8. mccp


    That is all.

  9. trarch

    Fake, can see the strings

    In all seriousness, that is some beautiful-looking technology. The glow of our atmosphere behind it tops it off perfectly.

    Eagerly awaiting N.A.O.M.I./L.I.N.D.S.A.Y.

  10. Ivan Headache

    What amazes me

    is how they have managed to build this extremely awesome looking structure while wearing great big mittens and not having a step-ladder to stand on.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      I ask my wife the same..

      ...when she burns the salad again.

  11. pixie lott's g-string

    that's no moon...

    it's space station


    1. chr0m4t1c


      But I doubt those fighters came from it.

  12. Benny
    Thumb Up


    That is pretty awesome!

    It almost doesn't look real ... hang on..... *puts on tin foil hat*

  13. Arnie
    Thumb Up


    Saw these yesterday, they are looking just as impressive this morning.

    To be there must be so humbling

    Being one of the shuttle generation I remember watching the first landing in primary school so its kinda sad to know the program is over.

    Currently listening to an early Orb track - Peace in the middle east with that awesome sea of tranquility sample!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    No Stars!!!

    Spaceflight is a lie! This fake footage proves it yet again!!!!

    1. N Ward


    2. Adam Foxton

      You've got to be a troll.

      I can take photos of the night sky without seeing stars.

      In fact, if you get a big-ass telescope you can see more stars than you can with the naked eye. So by your logic, eyesight is also a lie. Good luck reading this comment.

    3. Gary 7


      People actually took this post seriously? I took it as tongue-in-cheek, given the number of !...

  15. Tom Kelsall

    @AC 9/6/11 12:38gmt

    Idiot. You can't see the stars in the daytime because your eyes/the camera lens have to adjust to a very small aperture to avoid suffering from the high light levels from Earth and Sun.

  16. Alan Firminger


    Why are shadows allowed on solar panels ?

  17. ForthIsNotDead


    Er, who took the photo of the Shuttle docked to the space station, and to what were they tethered?


    1. Tom 260


      It was taken out of the window of a departing Soyuz capsule, normally Soyuz operations and Shuttle visits don't coincide - apparently for safety, but it happened this time anyway. On the right of the ISS you can also see the ESA's ATV supply ship, so a pretty unique image all in all.

    2. Steven Knox

      Re-read the article

      It tells you who, what, how, when, where, and (sort-of) why. Reporters love that stuff.

  18. Jeremy 2

    *click* Save

    New desktop background coming right up...

  19. Len Goddard


    Dammit, we should be on Mars already!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Len Goddard

      "Dammit, we should be on Mars already!"

      And Von Braun thought we would be.

      Of course if NASA is forced to work on a launch vehicle *designed* by Senators in an appropriations act you can pretty much forget it in your life time.

      Look up "Tanker mode" and the findings of the last Augustine commission to see how.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Aliens hiding in plain sight ....

    Pause the video at 1:12 and have a look in the gubbins, particularly below that solar panel ...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      An Alien?

      It looks like Kryten to me!

  21. Graham Wilson


    Just wonderful.

    NASA et al, Arthur C. Clarke, Kubrick and Strauss, thank you.

    Shame Clarke and Kubrick didn't live long enough to witness this.

  22. IsJustabloke

    I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

    The shuttle is using its grab arm to scracth its belly... cute!

  23. bamalam
    Thumb Up

    Really beautiful

    Fantastic to see all the spacecraft docked to the space-station, particularly Endeavour.

  24. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Good on ya, El Reg

    You're the only guys to even mention there's a video, including 5 supposedly space-centric sites that I visit.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    its been a long road...

    getting from there to here...

  26. Jon B

    Why can't they leave the last shuttle up there?

    Why can't they leave the last shuttle up there and come back to earth in a soyuz capsule? Give the ISS an extra module for free - can anyone say why this isn't a good idea?

  27. Bunker_Monkey


    No UFO's in sight!

  28. Emilio Desalvo

    Too bad that...

    ... in space no one can clean your windshield!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same pictures captured from Earth

    Pretty amazing.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Titles to replies are generally pointless

      And in 3D! If only there was a 3d version of the full colour close up video... impressive none the less

  30. TeeCee Gold badge

    Turn the pic through 90 degrees and you get:

    This weeks Scrapheap Challenge is to build a solar-powered spaceship....

  31. bugalugs

    no blue danube waltz

    no artificial gravity so no waitresses with dirnks walking upside down, no shuttle to the moon.

    But this is real !

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