STS-35 crew members pose in OV-102’s middeck for their onboard crew portrait. The crew consists of Commander Vance D. Brand, Pilot Guy S. Gardner, Mission Specialists Jeffrey A. Hoffman, John M. Lounge, Robert A. Parker and Payload Specialists Samuel T. Durrance and Ronald A. Parise. STS-35 was Columbia’s 10th flight, and the mission’s objective was the deployment of ASTRO-1, an observatory consisting of four telescopes. The mission began on Dec. 2 and lasted eight days before landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Dec.10.
Explanation: During the Astro-1 astronomy mission of December, 1990, Space Shuttle astronauts photographed this stunning view of the setting full moon above the Earth's limb. In the foreground, towering clouds of condensing water vapor mark the extent of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet's life-sustaining atmosphere. Strongly scattering blue sunlight, the upper atmospheric layer, the stratosphere, fades dramatically to the black background of space. Moon and clouds are strong visual elements of many well known portraits of planet Earth, including Ansel Adams' famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico", photographed in 1941.
MS Robert Parker manually points ASTRO-1's instruments using a toggle on the aft flight deck.
Explanation: In December of 1990, the Space Shuttle Columbia carried an array of astronomical telescopes high above the Earth's obscuring atmosphere to observe the Universe at ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths. The telescopes, known by the acronyms UIT, HUT, WUPPE, and BBXRT, are seen here in Columbia's payload bay against a spectacular view of the constellation Orion. The ultraviolet telescopes were mounted on a common structure - HUT is visible in this view along with a star tracker (the silver cone at the left). The mission studied solar system, galactic, and extra-galactic sources.
Onboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia (STS-35), the various components of the Astro-1 payload are seen backdropped against a blue and white Earth. Parts of the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), and the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimetry Experiment (WUPPE) are visible on the Spacelab pallet. The Broad-Band X-Ray Telescope (BBXRT) is behind the pallet and is not visible in this scene. The smaller cylinder in the foreground is the igloo. The igloo was a pressurized container housing the Command Data Management System, that interfaced with the in-cabin controllers to control the Instrument Pointing System (IPS) and the telescopes. The Astro Observatory was designed to explore the universe by observing and measuring the ultraviolet radiation from celestial objects. Astronomical targets of observation selected for Astro missions included planets, stars, star clusters, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, quasars, remnants of exploded stars (supernovae), clouds of gas and dust (nebulae), and the interstellar medium. Managed by the Marshall Space Flight Center, the Astro-1 was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia (STS-35) on December 2, 1990.
Coastal Namibia photographed from the Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-35.