September 20, 2011
The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by a STS-118 crewmember on the Space Shuttle Endeavour following the undocking of the two spacecraft, which occurred at 6:56 a.m. (CDT) on Aug. 19, 2007. The image was acquired through one of the crew cabin windows, looking back over the length of the shuttle. Endeavour had undocked from the station, and the crew had begun late inspection of the orbiter’s Thermal Protection System (wing leading edges, nosecap, and belly tiles) prior to landing. The late inspection is performed using sensors mounted on the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) in order to assess whether micrometeorite or orbiting debris impacts had compromised the Thermal Protection System of the shuttle while it was docked with the station. This oblique image was acquired almost one hour after late inspection activities had begun. The sensor head of the OBSS is visible at top left. The entirety of the orbital outpost is visible at bottom center, set against the backdrop of the Ionian Sea approximately 330 kilometers below it. Other visible features of the southeastern Mediterranean region include the toe and heel features of Italy’s “boot” at lower left, and the western coastlines of Albania and Greece extend across the center. Further towards the horizon, the Aegean and Black Seas are also visible.
Topics: Environment, Space, Spaceflight, Space exploration, Disaster Accident, Orbiter Boom Sensor System, STS-120, Space Shuttle Orbiter, Space Shuttle Endeavour, Edwards Air Force Base, STS-118, Space Shuttle, Manned spacecraft, Space Shuttle program