Louise Walker and J.T. Heineck of the Experimental Aero-Physics Branch at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., are learning how to see shape and detail in blindingly bright plumes of rocket fire. The two researchers were funded by the Space Shuttle Program to document the final shuttle launch, STS-135, with their distinctive images. Image fusion is a technique which begins with image files taken simultaneously at nearly identical angles and positions, each with different filters. The images are processed through minute alignment and warping to match camera angles precisely and account for the inches between each camera’s position. The technique could have significant benefits for future space transportation systems, through imaging new rocket motor development and the Ames arc jets, which test aerothermodynamic heating a spacecraft endures throughout atmospheric re-entry and tests of thermal protection systems and materials.
In case you ever find yourself in a space shuttle with a Hasselblad in hand, NASA’s Hasselblad Astronaut Manual would be pretty useful.
via Laughing Squid
Spacecrafts Streak Over Colorado
Credit & Copyright: Robert Arn
Explanation: Have you ever seen a “star” drifting slowly overhead, but not known what it was? Sometimes even pointing it out to friends or family will only lead to ashrug. What you are seeing, most likely, is a spacecraft in low Earth orbit reflecting back sunlight as it circles the Earth once every 90 minutes or so. Two of the brighter spacecraft in the present day sky are the International Space Station (ISS), and, when it is up, a NASA space shuttle. As relative orientations change, the brightness of reflections may also change, sometimes suddenly. Another source of bright drifting objects, Iridium communication satellites, may even appear to flare up to become brighter than any other sky object for a few seconds. Pictured above, two bright points of light separated by only a few degrees drifted together across the sky aboveLory State Park, Colorado, USA last week, just after sunset. These lights were were the ISS and the space shuttle Discovery, which had undocked from the ISS a few hours earlier. Given a digital fusion of many separate camera exposures and a wide angle perspective, the pair appears above as streaks in front of point-like stars.Web sites now exist that can help you identify unknown “drifters” and even predict the time of the next pass of the ISS visible from your location.