Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Space station crew photographs Ariane 5 launch

Ariane 5 soars into space in this image from the space station.

Exclaiming "We actually saw the ATV launch!", International Space Station crew member Paolo Nespoli took one of several images on tonight's lift-off of an Ariane 5 rocket 222 miles high over South America.

"Tally Ho!," stated space station commander Scott Kelly upon witnessing the rocket soar following booster separation.

Several of the crew members, including flight engineer Cady Coleman, were huddled in the Cupola section of the station watching through windows 3, 4 and 7.

Using a Nikon D3S camera, Nespoli recorded over a dozen images of the liftoff as the space station sailed over northern Bolivia at 4:51 pm EST.

The views were shot from the Cupola looking northeast.

"Congratulations to Arianespace and ESA on ATV’s launch. E26 is looking forward to welcoming it on the ISS," Nespoli later wrote to the ground.

The Johannes Kepler automated transfer vehicle is in a 166 mile high orbit, lower than that of station to enable it to catch up with and dock next week.

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