Col. Chris Hadfield: “Safely home - back on Earth, happily readapting to the heavy pull of gravity. Wonderful to smell and feel Spring.”

Read about Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield’s return to Earth following historic five-month mission here:

Photo credits: Mikhail Metzel/AFP/Getty Images/Guardian/space-pics/NASA 


Top: Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with Mir on 4 July 1995.  Cosmonauts Anatoliy Y. Solovyev and Nikolai M. Budarin, who had arrive onboard Atlantis five days earlier, took Soyuz TM-21 for a fly-around photo survey prior to Atlantis undocking for her return to Earth.  This was the first time a shuttle had docked with Mir.

Bottom: Two shots of the Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the ISS, as photographed by the departing Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft on 23 May 2011, during the STS-134 mission.  (There are a lot more from this fly-around here)


Человек и Вселенная (Man and the Universe) by Alexei Leonov and Andrei Sokolov, 1976. Artwork by Andrei Sokolov, whose paintings was carried into space in 1971 on Soyuz 11 and transferred to the space station Salyut I for the first orbiting art exhibition. (Sadly, the Soyuz 11 crew died on re-entry when their capsule depressurized and the Salyut I station was allowed to deorbit and crash into the Pacific while the capsules were being redesigned)

Author Alexei Leonov was the first person to “walk” in space in 1965 and led the Soviet crew on the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975. He is also an accomplished artist.


The Soyuz TMA-09M Spacecraft Departs the Station

The Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft departs from the International Space Station’s Zvezda Service Module and heads toward a landing near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Nov. 11, 2013 (Kazakh time). Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, Expedition 37 commander; along with NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, both flight engineers, are ending a five-and-a-half month stay at the space station where they served as members of the Expedition 36 and 37 crews.

Russian Soyuz-FG rocket with the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft and a crew of US astronaut Steven Swanson, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev aboard, blasts off from a launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, early on March 26, 2014.


All set for launch - Samantha flies tomorrow

On sunday the 23th of November Samantha Cristoforetti, Anton Shkaplerov and Terry Virts will launch towards the station. It will be the first time since June 2013 that there are two women in space simultaneously, and the first time in 4 years that two women will serve in the same ISS expedition.

The launch can be followed from several sources.

ESA will be broadcasting here from 20:00 GMT (21:00 CET) onwards. The docking coverage will start at 02:30 GMT (02:30 CET) and the hatch opening will be broadcasted at 4:00 GMT (5:00 CET).

NASA will broadcast the launch at its usual channels. Broadcast of the launch will start at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Docking coverage starts at 9:15 p.m. eastern time and hatch opening coverage at 11 p.m.

Image Source: ESA