8
$\begingroup$

Are there any attempts made to capture an image of the whole ISS in one take? Or is it not currently practically possible? If Soyuz, SpaceX Dragon, etc. have cameras installed on them, images can be captured in side-view and bottom-view but how would images from top-view be captured?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ related: Were there any STS missions that included maneuvers that might have photographed ISS's top side? answer includes list of missions and a video $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 16 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think the ISS co-rotates with its orbital position, so its "top side" is going to be its "bottom side" every 1/2 orbit. Also, just searching for "ISS" images on duckduckgo brings up a lot of good results? $\endgroup$ – David Tonhofer Feb 16 at 18:37
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @DavidTonhofer the ISS typically flies in a Local Horizontal Local Vertical attitude which keeps the same side facing the Earth. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 16 at 20:57
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Were there any STS missions that included maneuvers that might have photographed ISS's top side? $\endgroup$ – AndrewL64 Feb 16 at 21:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ During STS-109, a Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, the crew got a good look at the "top side" of the ISS during a day pass as Columbia zinged by over 120 miles above it. The whole thing happened pretty fast and the ISS looked pretty small. Can't remember if anyone grabbed a photo. Mike Massimino, after seeing the fast moving white dot go by miles below, said, in a comically sardonic way, "Those guys call that space?" $\endgroup$ – Digger Feb 17 at 15:24
21
$\begingroup$

Yes. Most craft, when docking with the ISS do a fly-around to survey the docking site. They can then frequently capture images of the ISS from the top view. Here is one from the Shuttle Atlantis taken during fly around:

Source: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2008/03/International_Space_Station_seen_from_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis3 courtesy of ESA.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Do any current visiting vehicles do a fly-around? Have such pictures ever been taken from anything but the shuttle? (I know of some pictures showing a docked shuttle taken from a Soyuz, but it wasn;t during a flyaround). $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 16 at 11:50
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ While this answer does have an image of the ISS from above, most of the details are wrong. "Most craft, when docking with the ISS do a fly-around to survey the docking site" is just wrong. Most visiting vehicles do not / did not do that. "Here is one from the Shuttle Atlantis taken during fly around", with the implication that the fly around was performed pre-docking, is also wrong. The linked image is from the departing rather than docking STS-122 mission. The primary purpose of this particular fly around was to take pictures of ESA's newly installed Columbus module, carried up by STS-122. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Feb 17 at 14:17

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.