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Media photograph the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft as it launches to the International Space Station with Expedition 43 NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) onboard at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday, March 27, 2015 (March 28 Kazakh time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. As the one-year crew, Kelly and Kornienko will return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday (1:42 a.m., March 28 in Baikonur).

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Expedition 43 Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), top, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, center, and Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of Roscosmos wave farewell as they board the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft ahead of their launch to the International Space Station, Friday, March 27, 2015 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year in space and return to Earth on Soyuz TMA-18M in March 2016. Most expeditions to the space station last four to six months. By doubling the length of this mission, researchers hope to better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to long-duration spaceflight. This knowledge is critical as NASA looks toward human journeys deeper into the solar system, including to and from Mars, which could last 500 days or longer.

The Soyuz is set to lift off at 3:42 p.m. EDT, Friday, March 27 on a six-hour, four-orbit flight to the station.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image was taken from a distance of 10.1 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 21 October 2014. The image is lightly processed. It has a resolution of 86 cm/pixel and measures 883 m across.

The original, unprocessed image and more information is available via the blog: CometWatch: Around Anubis and Atum

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) licence. The user is allowed to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform this publication, without explicit permission, provided that the content is accompanied by an acknowledgement that the source is credited as ‘ESA – European Space Agency’, a direct link to the licence text is provided and that it is clearly indicated if changes were made to the original content. Adaptation/translation/derivatives must be distributed under the same licence terms as this publication. The user must not give any suggestion that ESA necessarily endorses the modifications that you have made. No warranties are given. The licence may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from ESA. To view a copy of this licence, please visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/igo/

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ESA’s recovered IXV spaceplane arrived at the Port of Livorno in Italy on 26 March 2015 and will be taken to Turin for final analysis.

Hardware will be removed for engineers to evaluate the reusability of components and the effects of heat, pressure and shock during the mission.

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, IXV, was launched on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 11 February 2015. Released into a suborbital trajectory, it flew autonomously, reentering and splashing down in the Pacific Ocean after 100 minutes. 

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This multitemporal Sentinel-1A radar image shows the Aral Sea, located on the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Central Asia.

The Aral Sea is a striking example of humankind’s impact on the environment and natural resources. Once the world’s fourth-largest inland water body, it has lost around 90% of its water volume since 1960 because of Soviet-era irrigation schemes.

As the water evaporated, it left behind a dry, white salt terrain now called the Aral Karakum Desert. Each year violent sandstorms pick up salt and sand from the desert and transport it across hundreds of kilometres, causing severe health problems for the local population and making regional winters colder and summers hotter.

Chemicals in the dry plains from former weapons testing, industrial projects and fertiliser runoff exacerbates the effects of these storms on health.

In addition, the area’s fishing industry – which once employed tens of thousands of people – has been devastated.

The World Bank and Kazakhstan has worked together to build the Kok-Aral dyke to stabilise the northern section of the sea. The Aral Sea’s southern section – part of which is pictured here – was beyond saving and is projected to dry out completely by the end of this decade.

This image was created by combining three radar scans from Sentinel-1A, assigning each a colour: red (from 17 October 2014), green (from 28 December 2014) and blue (from 14 February 2015). Different colours represent changes between the acquisitions.

In the lower right, the red, yellow and green boomerang shape shows where water flows into the dry seabed from a river, and colours show how the area covered in water increased over time.

Along the left side of the image, the large dark area shows where water is still present. Colours along the water’s edge show water-level changes between acquisitions. Red shows a lower level than blue, so the water level was lower on 17 October 2014 than on 14 February 2015.

Zooming in on the lower-left corner, we can see the straight line of a road outside of the seabed, with white dots showing where the radar signal has reflected off of human-made structures. White dots also appear further east, showing where structures have been built in the seabed.

This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

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This image combines two Sentinel-1A radar scans from 3 and 15 January 2015 to show ice velocities on outlet glaciers of Greenland’s west coast. Sentinel-1 offers excellent capabilities for observing the velocities of Greenland’s outlet glaciers with unprecedented temporal resolution at complete spatial coverage, extending and enhancing the time series of ice-velocity maps available from previous satellite sensors.

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Rewatch Arianespace’s live coverage of the launch of the seventh and eight Galileo satellites on Soyuz flight VS11 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, which took off on 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET) on Friday 27 March 2015. This first part features the Soyuz lift-off and ascent into orbit, followed by the first firing of the Fregat upper stage as it heads to medium-Earth orbit, starting from 21:20 GMT (22:20 CET) and concluding at 22:20 GMT (23:20 CET).

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The liftoff of Soyuz flight VS11 from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana took place as scheduled on 21:46:18 GMT (22:46:18 CET) on Friday 27 March 2015. The launcher was carrying Europe’s seventh and eighth Galileo navigation satellites, due to separate from their Fregat upper stage into their assigned orbit on 3 h 47 min after lift-off.

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Earth from Space is presented by Kelsea Brennan-Wessels from the ESA Web-TV virtual studios. A multitemporal Sentinel-1A radar image is featured in the one hundred thirty-eighth.

See also Earth from Space: Aral Sea to download the image.

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