Astronaut Luca Parmitano is orbiting on the International Space Station. On his spacewalk today he shot a photo and tweeted "This sure beats any 'selfie' I’ve done up to now."
And history is made.
Over the past year, we've been keeping tabs on Elon Musk's SpaceX Grasshopper rocket, which can take off and land vertically. The craft has now made its most impressive (and visually stunning) leap yet.
Watch the rocket's latest test, AFTER THE JUMP...
On June 14, SpaceX's Grasshopper flew 325 m (1066 feet)--higher than Manhattan's Chrysler Building--before smoothly landing back on the pad. For the first time in this test, Grasshopper made use of its full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms to accomplish a precision landing. Most rockets are equipped with sensors to determine position, but these sensors are generally not accurate enough to accomplish the type of precision landing necessary with Grasshopper.
Previous Grasshopper tests relied on the other rocket sensors but for this test, an additional, higher accuracy sensor was in the control loop. In other words, SpaceX was directly controlling the vehicle based on new sensor readings, adding a new level of accuracy in sensing the distance between Grasshopper and the ground, enabling a more precise landing.
Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact.
NASA released an "It Gets Better" video featuring LGBT astronauts, a flight engineer, a director, a manager, an educator, and an intern from the "Out & Allied @ JSC Employee Resource Group" of NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Pictured here, NASA astronauts Catherine Coleman and Steven Swanson.
For all the future LGBT space explorers out there, watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Astronauts aboard the ISS took some incredible shots of Alaska's Pavlof volcano, which began erupting on May 13, 2013, and has been disrupting air travel up near the Aleutian arc where it is situated, approximately 625 miles south of Anchorage.
When photograph ISS036-E-2105 (top) was taken, the space station was about 475 miles south-southeast of the volcano (49.1° North latitude, 157.4° West longitude). The volcanic plume extended southeastward over the North Pacific Ocean.
Two more shots, AFTER THE JUMP...
Sally Ride, the first female astronaut in space who came out in July 2012 in her obituary, will be awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House announced today.
"Dr. Ride’s partner, mother, and sister were notified last week of the President’s decision to award her with the Nation’s highest civilian honor for her contributions to the U.S. space program and education system. The remainder of the honorees selected by the President will be announced over the coming weeks and the awards will be presented at a White House ceremony later this year," said the White house in a press release.
Said President Obama of the honor:
“We remember Sally Ride not just as a national hero, but as a role model to generations of young women. Sally inspired us to reach for the stars, and she advocated for a greater focus on the science, technology, engineering and math that would help us get there. Sally showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve, and I look forward to welcoming her family to the White House as we celebrate her life and legacy.”