Orbiting Astronaut Tweets Photos of Space Shuttle
A photograph of the space shuttle Endeavor as seen through a window of the International Space Station. Taken on Feb. 13. In the background is Africa.
CREDIT: Soichi Noguchi
An orbiting Japanese astronaut who has been taking pictures of Earth and posting them to Twitter has found a new object to focus his camera lens on: the space shuttle.
A current crewmember on the International Space Station (ISS), flight engineer Soichi Noguchi snapped a photo of NASA's space shuttle Endeavour early this morning with its bay doors open and its robotic arm grasping the ISS's newest addition, the Tranquility node (also known as Node 3).
Yesterday Soichi photographed Endeavour as it performed a routine back flip before docking with the ISS.
"Shuttle, approaching to ISS at dawn," Soichi (@Astro_Soichi) tweeted to his more than 70,000 followers on Twitter . "Just imagine that this beast emerging from the complete darkness. KOOL!"
Soichi and his fellow astronauts have been tweeting their space adventures live from the ISS since late January, when the space station was set up with direct access to the Internet for the first time.
Prior to that, orbiting astronauts had to send their Twitter updates by email down to Mission Control in Houston, where someone then posted them to the social networking site.
NASA spokesperson Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters said Soichi typically takes his photos with a digital still camera and then uploads them to Twitter using a computer on board the ISS.
Cloutier-Lemasters said NASA does not censor or filter Soichi's tweets and pictures. "They're free to post what they want," she told TechNewsDaily.
While the space shuttle and its contents have given Soichi new things to photograph, he is still taking the landscape pictures that made him famous.
This morning, Soichi also posted a nigh-shot of two cities, Akashi and Hamamatsu, in his home country of Japan.