Hi-Def Pics – Space Exploration and the International Space Station (11 photos)

Space is an absolutely wicked place that most of us will never visit. If we ever do get a chance though, we should all meet up at the International Space Station (ISS), which this month celebrates its 10th anniversary. In the past decade, 44 manned flights and 34 unmanned flights have carried further modules, solar arrays, support equipment, supplies and a total of 167 human beings from 15 countries to the ISS. Crew members work on a good deal of research involving biology and physics in conditions of microgravity. If humans are ever to leave the Earth for extended periods, the ISS is designed to be the place where we will discover the best materials, procedures and safety measures to make it a reality. Above, high above New Zealand and Cook Strait, astronauts Robert L. Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang work to attach a new truss segment to the ISS and begin to upgrade the power grid on December 12th, 2006. (NASA)

Astronaut Stephen Robinson rides the 17-meter-long Canadarm2 during the STS-114 mission of the space shuttle Discovery to the ISS in August of 2005. The Canadarm2 aboard the ISS has multiple joints and is capable of maneuvering payloads as massive as 116,000 kilograms, equivalent to a fully loaded bus. (NASA)

A spacesuit-turned-satellite called SuitSat began its orbit around the Earth after it was released by the ISS Expedition 12 crewmembers during a session of extravehicular activity (EVA) on Feb. 3, 2006. SuitSat, an unneeded Russian Orlan spacesuit, was outfitted by the crew with three batteries, internal sensors and a radio transmitter, which faintly transmitted recorded voices of school children to amateur radio operators worldwide. The suit entered the atmosphere and burned a few weeks later. (NASA)

Astronaut Steve Bowen, STS-126 mission specialist, participates in the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) on November 18th, 2008, as construction and maintenance continue on the ISS. During the six-hour, 52-minute spacewalk, Bowen and astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper (out of frame), mission specialist, worked to clean and lubricate part of the station's starboard Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ) and to remove two of SARJ's 12 trundle bearing assemblies. The spacewalkers also removed a depleted nitrogen tank from a stowage platform on the outside of the complex and moved it into Endeavour's cargo bay. (NASA)

The ISS is seen moving away from the Space Shuttle Atlantis on June 19th, 2007. Earlier the STS-117 and Expedition 15 crews concluded about eight days of cooperative work onboard the shuttle and station. Astronaut Lee Archambault, STS-117 pilot, was at the controls for the departure and fly-around, which gave Atlantis' crew a look at the station's new expanded configuration. (NASA)

The Canadarm2 (center) and solar array panel wings on the International Space Station are featured in this image photographed by a crewmember during the mission's first planned session of extravehicular activity (EVA) while Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-118) was docked with the station on August 11th, 2007. (NASA)

Astronaut Karen Nyberg, STS-124 mission specialist, looks through a window in the newly installed Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station while Space Shuttle Discovery is docked with the station on June 10th, 2008. (NASA)

Astronaut Leroy Chiao, Expedition 10 commander and NASA ISS science officer, watches a water bubble float between him and the camera, showing his image refracted, on the IISS on January 15th, 2005. (NASA)

Astronaut C. Michael Foale, Expedition 8 commander and NASA ISS science officer, equipped with a bungee harness, exercises on the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) in the Zvezda Service Module on the ISS on April 12th, 2004. (NASA)

This high-angle image of the Space Shuttle Atlantis backdropped over a mountainous coastline was photographed on February 16th, 2001 by the three-man Expedition One crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) shortly after the shuttle and the outpost unlinked following several days of joint operations of the two crews. The scene was recorded with a digital still camera. (NASA)

An overhead view of the exterior of the Space Shuttle Atlantis' crew cabin, part of its payload bay doors and docking system was provided by Expedition 16 crewmembers. Before docking with the International Space Station, astronaut Steve Frick, STS-122 commander, flew the shuttle through a roll pitch maneuver or basically a backflip to allow the space station crew a good view of Atlantis' heat shield. Using digital still cameras equipped with both 400 and 800 millimeter lenses, the ISS crewmembers took a number of photos of the shuttle's thermal protection system and sent them down to teams on the ground for analysis. Photo taken February 9th, 2008. (NASA) Courtesy of the Boston Globe

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