Image Credit & Copyright: Manish Mamtani. CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and links to more of Manish’s work.

This image comes to us from world class photographer, Manish Mamtani and it’s a stunning view of the Milky Way galaxy; our star city, as seen from Joshua Tree National Park, California. This is a place that I used to love stopping at as a young Marine as I would travel from Camp Pendleton to 29 Palms “29 Stumps” but I’ve never seen it quite like this.

Joshua Tree National Park is over three quarters of a million acres (bigger than Rhode Island) spanning Riverside and San Bernardino counties, CA. A National Monument since 1936, it officially became a National Park in 1994 after Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Aside from the stunning views, Joshua Tree boasts great hiking and rock scrambling opportunities as well as some great names such as “The Old Woman Rock” “North Horror Rock” and “Skull Rock.”

Get out and see the world, you only have one chance to ride this ride so do what you love and do it well. I’ve been to quite a few places across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and I’ve loved them all and I’m certain you will to. I hope you enjoyed this image and go check out more of Manish’s work in the links below as he’s an incredible photographer and the extent of his work reaches much further than the night sky but hey, I’m biased.

Manish Mamtani:




Google Plus:



Joshua Tree National Park:

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Image Credit & Copyright: Lincoln Harrison.

The Milky Way detail in this image is amazing to me. The plane of our home galaxy stretches across the sky; its massive bands of gas and dust obstruct our view of many tens of billions of stars. The core of the galaxy glows from beyond those thick black clouds like the distant town lights glow on the horizon, obstructed by the land between them and the camera.

The setting of this image, resembling a scene from the Fallout series of videogames in its loneliness and disrepair also provides us some perspective on what it is to live in this world. Most of your life you will not remember, most of your life you have already forgotten. It’s an unrelenting flow of experiences and emotions bullet pointed with memories that is your life. Because like the barn in this image, our time will come and go, life will speed into the future without us and that night sky will be viewed upon by the next generations, leaving us only as leafs on a family tree.

May your only regrets be filled with lots of fun!

Lincoln Harrison:



Google Plus:



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Image Credit & Copyright: ULA of the AtlasV-401 GPS IIF-7 launch.  Look below for links to stream live and more info than you will ever need.

LAUNCH ALERT: Wednesday, October 29, at 17:21 UTC (13:21 EDT & 10:21 PDT) a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-401 Rocket will launch the GPS IIF-8 satellite for the United States and users worldwide from Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41 or SLICK-41) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).

GPS IIF-8 is the eighth in a series of next-generation GPS satellites and will join a worldwide timing and navigation system utilizing 24 satellites in six different planes, with a minimum of four satellites per plane positioned in orbit approximately 11,000 miles above the Earth’s surface. The GPS IIF series provides improved accuracy and enhanced performance for GPS users.

This launch will mark the fourth GPS satellite launched this year, the 12th ULA launch of 2014 and the 89th launch since ULS’s founding in 2006.

The Lockheed Martin Atlas-5 (V) 400 Series rocket is a two-stage rocket that depending on the size of the fairing used stands between 57.3 m (188 ft.) and 59.1 m (194 ft.) with a diameter of 12.5ft (3.81m) and consists of an Atlas Common Core Booster with a Russian RD-180 engine and first stage with a United States RL-10 Centaur upper stage built by AeroJet-Rocketdyne. The vehicle is available in 4 different configurations which are built specifically for each individual mission. Its launch sites are Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Launch Complex-41 (LC-41) or Vandenberg Air Force Base, Launch Complex-3 (LC-3). Performance to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) ranges from 10,470 lb. to 16,970 lb. Performance to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) ranges from 20,650 lb. to 33,360 lb.

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Image Credit & Copyright: Chris Simundson.

Tonight’s launch of Orbital Sciences Antares rocket carrying Cygnus S.S. Deke Slayton as part of Orb-3 mission to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) has ended in failure. Liftoff occurred at 22:22 UTC (18:22 EDT) and initial failure occurred at about T+15 seconds.  At that time all lift ended and Antares crashed back to the launch pad at about T+24 seconds destroying the vehicle.

As far as the ISS they are in good shape with no imminent shortage of supplies at hand and with a Russian Progress ship launching this week as well as a SpaceX Dragon cargo vehicle in December the ISS crew will be in no danger. As far as the Cygnus cargo, all was lost to include the Planetary Resources Arkyd-3 (A3) asteroid hunting space telescope and all ISS science missions and sustenance onboard.

There has been some focus on United States rockets such as the Atlas V utilizing Russian engines to power their first stages. As the Atlas V uses RD-180 1st stage engines, Orbital Sciences uses AJ26-62 engines to power their 1st stage.  AJ26-62 engines are old NK-33 Soviet engines from the N1 Moon rockets which, I must add, never had a single successful flight.  The AJ26-62 engines are refurbished by Aerojet-Rocketdyne.  This is a glaring fact even though at this writing the actual facts of the Antares failure have not been confirmed.

Finally; it’s worth noting that the space industry is an impossibly difficult one. Failures and sometimes loss of life (which, fortunately did not happen here) does occur.  When, not if, failures occur you can choose to pack it up and quit or learn all you can from it, use that information to make yourself better and push forward better for it.  I for one have no doubt that Orbital Sciences and the Antares rocket will be flying again soon.


Orbital Sciences:



Antares Launch Vehicle:

Antares User Guide:

Antares Brochure:

Antares Fact Sheet:

Aerojet-Rocketdyne AJ26-62 Engines:

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Soyuz ISS Resupply Flight: Progress 57-P (M-25M)


Image Credit & Copyright: Roscosmos. Look below for mission information and links to see the launch live.

LAUNCH ALERT!!! A Russian Soyuz 2-1a rocket dubbed ISS Progress 57-P (57P) is slated to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Pad-31, Launcher-6 (LC-31/6) on Wednesday, October 29th at 07:08 UTC (03:08 EDT) to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) with supplies, hardware, fuel and water. ISS Progress 57-P is actually its designation through NASA & International Space Station (ISS) records; Roscosmos catalogs it as Progress M-25M.

Progress 57-P/M-25M will be on the “Fast-Track” system of the 4 or 5-orbit, 6-hour launch to docking at the ISS. Upon arrival to the ISS it will be docking with the Pirs docking compartment which should take place at approximately 12:30 UTC (08:30 EST).

This will be the maiden flight of the Soyuz 2-1a rocket.

*Launch coverage of Progress 57-P/M-25M begins at 06:45 UTC (02:45 EDT) on Wednesday, October 29th. STREAM LIVE: NASA TV:

NASA TV Ustream:


Roscosmos M25M photos:

NASA M-25M/Progress 57P Mission info:

Spaceflight 101 data on Progress M-25M:

Russian Space Web Progress M-25M:

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Image Credit & Copyright: Xinhua News.

Launched on Thursday, October 23 at 17:59 UTC (01:59 on Friday Beijing Time) a Long March-3C rocket launched the Chang’e-5T1 spacecraft to the Moon, embarking on an eight day mission to circle the Moon, return to Earth and land in China’s Mongolia region. This is testing for their future plans for the Chang’e-5 robotic lunar sample return mission slated for 2017.

Well here is one of its first images and WOW, what a sight! In fact, it’s a sight seldom seen.  Here we see the lunar far side and its most noticeable feature, Mare Moscoviense or “Sea of Moscow” and the Pale Blue Dot some 240,000 miles beyond.  It’s amazing to take note of the stark difference between the lunar near and far sides.

I hope you enjoy this image and hopefully there will be more forthcoming sometime soon!

Original Source (this image is on page 3):

Unmanned Spaceflight Image Source:

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Image Credit & Copyright: Mark Gee. Look below for Mark’s links!

To those of you out there breaking into the hobby of night sky shooting there are things you must always remember. Things like; shoot manual, shoot raw, tripod, use a shutter release or intervalometer, take the time to focus, take test shots, find dark skies……..and in this case, don’t be afraid to get creative.

This image was taken early in the morning above Hanmer Springs (from what I hear has some great thermal springs) on New Zealand’s south island in the pre-dawn hours after a long night of shooting. The light in the distance isn’t the morning sun coming to wash away the night, it’s the small town of Christchurch about 130 km in the distance.

The Milky Way spans the night sky, a spectacle as always for anyone willing to have a look. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy 160,000 light years away hangs on the sky almost like a sticker on a window.  All of it, caught in the reflection off of his car which sat patiently, ready to provide some heat and a nap when ready.

Just a beautiful image in every way and congratulations to Mark of the fabulous capture!

Mark Gee Photography:



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