During daytime, sulfur oxygen particles in the Earth atmosphere are absorbing the sun energy. Over time, the particles give off the absorbed energy in form of light. Even the particles give off their light day and night, it is only visible during the night hours. Then, the upper layers of the atmosphere glow in a diffuse light.
A cue card is a summarized procedure of an operational tasks which is performed frequently by the astronauts. Cue cards are mostly printed on cardboard with velcro on the backside, so they can be attached to any surface inside the Space Shuttle.
The Gemini Project was NASA's second manned space flight program, conducted between 1963 and 1966. The goal of the Gemini Project was to test the techniques and hardware needed to compelete a manned lunar landing. During Gemini, the first spacewalk of an American was performed, and rendezvous and docking techniques were tested in Earth orbit.
The Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) are an important part of the navigation system of the Space Shuttle. They provide attitude and velocity state information with respect to a known inertial coordinate reference. Three identical and functionally independent IMU's are flown on board each orbiter.
A frequency band used for communications between the orbiter and the ground. The KU-band frequency band extends approximately from 15.35 to 17.25 gigahertz. The KU-band frequency is used for video and data transmission.
Small particles with the size of a molecule which travel through our solar system or orbit the earth. Travelling with high speeds, such micrometeorites can cause damage on the surface of all exposed material during impact.
Northern Lights are caused by charged particles interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. Stimulated by the magnetic field lines the particles emit their "extra" energy in the form of light. The color of Northern Lights depends on the kind of stimulated particle. Northern Lights are more common near the poles, because the magnetic field lines become more concentrated near the North and South Pole. Also, Northern Lights are more prominent during high solar activity.
About 70% of all astronauts traveling into space experience SAS symptoms, which range from nausea and light headedness to vomiting. The exact cause of SAS is unknown, but it is believed that it is caused by conflicting sensory inputs from the vestibular organ (inner ear) and the eyes. SAS symptoms normally last only for a day or two and can be treated by medication.
The TDRS is a space-based communications relay that links flight controllers on earth with orbiting spacecraft. Two TDRS satellites are used for communications during a Space Shuttle missions, both positioned in geostationary orbits 22,300 miles above the earth. One of the two satellites is placed over the Pacific, the other one over the Atlantic (130 degrees apart).
The TIPS is a thermal printer which is flown on board the Space Shuttle to transfer messages. The TIPS fits into a middeck locker, where it is stowed during the entire mission. For operation, the front panel of the system is removed.
The Vehicle Assembly Building was constructed in preparation of the Apollo missions for vertical assembly of the Saturn V rockets. Located at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, it is now used to assemble the Space Transportation System, which includes the Space Shuttle, the External Tank and two Solid Rocket Boosters. From the VAB, the STS is moved on a giant crawler to the launch pads 39A or 39B, the actual launching sites of the Space Transportation System. The VAB is the second largest building (by volume) in the world, and it even has its own weather inside -- NASA employees report that rain clouds form below the ceiling on very humid days.