Pictures of Spacecraft
Suisei (Japanese for Comet), originally known as Planet-A, was an unmanned space probe developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (now part of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA). It constituted a part of the Halley Armada together with Sakigake, the Soviet/French Vega probes, the ESA Giotto and the NASA International Cometary Explorer, to explore Halley's Comet during its 1986 sojourn through the inner solar system. Suisei was identical in construction and shape to Sakigake, but carried a different payload: a CCD UV imaging system and a solar wind instrument.
This version of the video has been flipped 180 degrees to put sky above ground. The mountains on the horizon are the Montes Recti. The lander is decelerating at an angle until about 2:50 when it can be seen to rotate vertical. This was at an altitude of about 2000 meters. It then lowered to an altitude of 100 meters, where it came to a hovering standstill (at about 5:15). It used imaging and laser ranging to determine a safe place for the landing, then continued the descent. At an altitude of about 4 meters, it cut the engines and fell to the surface.
Screen caps taken from a Chinese state television feed show the view from a side-looking camera mounted to the lander of the Yutu rover deploying from a ramp onto the surface of the Moon on December 14, 2013
Movie showing the European Space Agency's JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer) spacecraft flying past Jupiter's icy moon Europa in 2013. The design of the spacecraft has not been finalized so this is just a mock-up featuring some of the parts of the spacecraft.
The Clipper spacecraft flies over the surface of Europa in this artist's rendering. NASA is currently studying this reduced-cost mission which would use at least 48 flybys to explore the moon instead of entering into orbit.
On Dec. 3, 2013, SpaceX's Falcon 9 version 1.1 placed a communications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. This view was taken from a camera mounted to the upper stage from an altitude of 13,000 kilometers.
Chang'e 3 launched toward the Moon on December 1, 2013. Less than an hour after launch, the Chang'e 3 lander separated from its third stage and departed for the Moon, with the crescent Earth as a backdrop. A few seconds in to the video, a sun glint off the spacecraft produces a blinding flare to the camera. Afterward, the third stage was deliberately rolled to capture Earth in its camera field of view.
Just after separation from its third stage rocket on December 1, 2013, the Chang'e 3 lander fires attitude adjustment rockets to trim its course toward the Moon, with a sunrise Earth in the background.
Curiosity used her hand-lens imager to capture a view of the rover's wheels sitting on Martian soil on sol 463 (November 24, 2013). The clear air permits a detailed view of the distant rim of Gale crater in the background. Several holes have been punched clear through the thin metal between Curiosity's wheel treads.
This diagram is in the reference frame of the spacecraft, meaning that the spacecraft is considered fixed and the asteroid appears to be moving from left to right across the diagram. In this reference frame, the asteroid moved with a relative velocity of 10.7277 kilometers per second, and the minimum separation between the spacecraft and asteroid was 770±120 meters.
Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!
Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.