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Questions tagged [identify-this-object]

Questions which ask for an object in a photograph or other media to be identified and/or have its function described.

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4answers
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“Pillars of Baikonur” What is the purpose of the hundreds of short, white posts near the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad?

The caption given in the third image included in the Space.com page Expedition 56: The Space Station Mission in Photos reads as follows: At the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad, remote-controlled ...
50
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1answer
6k views

Did a Soyuz fly with a Union Jack?

In this schematic of a Soyuz rocket, the payload fairing is depicted with the flag of the USSR on one side, and what appears to be the flag of the United Kingdom on the other. Did the Soyuz ever fly ...
44
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2answers
8k views

What caused this bright light from the ground at night seen from the ISS?

The music video on the NASA Johnson YouTube channel The Sound (& Visions) of Silence shows images and video of Earth taken from the ISS by astronauts Sergey Ryazanskiy, Paolo Nespoli, and ...
33
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1answer
5k views

Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS?

I was watching a feed on the latest footage of Hurricane Matthew as seen from the ISS just now, relayed from NASA TV. Suddenly, I spotted something poking out of the ISS hull in the footage that ...
25
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2answers
6k views

What spacecraft control is Margaret Hamilton pressing in this picture?

Margaret Hamilton was the Apollo Director of Software Engineering. In this picture, she is shown inside a mock-up of the Apollo command module. Hamilton is noted for many accomplishments during the ...
24
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2answers
5k views

What is the purpose of the rotating dish antenna on the ISS

I just saw some footage of the ISS in which a dish antenna could be seen, constantly rotating. The dish looked more-or-less parabolic, meaning that it is presumably sending/receiving along a fairly ...
23
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2answers
2k views

What's on the bottom of the Shuttle's external fuel tank?

In the Wikipedia article about Spaceplane there's a (rare and cool) shot of the Space Shuttle from one of the SBRs immediately after it was released. The web page for the image says: Space Shuttle ...
23
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2answers
3k views

What is the function of this (apparently) fixed dish on the ISS?

I saw this image in Popular Science, one of the example photos from the book by astronaut/photographer/astrophotographer(?) Donald Pettit. It's beautiful and impressive not only from a color/...
22
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1answer
5k views

What celestial body did NASA carve and why is it eating a spacecraft?

The Mashable.com article No one carves a Halloween pumpkin like NASA engineers shows several interesting examples. But this one I can't figure out. The caption reads only. Om nom nom. Question: ...
18
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1answer
2k views

What are the small gas jets at the rims of the Space Shuttle Main Engines?

As can be seen in close-up footage of SSME ignition, such as the video below, there are small jets of an unknown gas/vapor emanating from specific points around the ...
13
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1answer
823 views

What was the purpose of the small red tank attached to the Titan-Centaur launcher?

Watching a documentary on the Viking missions, I noticed the launcher had a small red tank/rocket attached to one of the solid boosters. It struck me as an odd feature/placement, as I thought you'd ...
13
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1answer
2k views

What are these air-vent-like structures on this satellite?

I struck out with my previous question so I'll try again. What are these large circular 4-vane structures on the sides of NOAA-19 - the satellite that "fell down"? They remind me of adjustable air ...
12
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2answers
643 views

What is the large circular device with a dozen concentric circles on Sentinel 3B?

The Spaceflight Now article Photos: Sentinel 3B satellite prepared for launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome has of course lots of photos. One of them shows a dish antenna covered with shiny, metallized ...
12
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1answer
2k views

What are these tiny triangular fins on the Soyuz launcher?

What are the small triangular fins on the lowest part of the boosters of the Soyuz 2.1 rocket? What function do they have? I circled one of them in the upper image here. They are not visible in the ...
11
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1answer
511 views

Design of 1970s era orbital fuel depot

Multiple concept art examples for a 1970s orbital fuel depot from Marshall Space Flight Center show cylindrical tanks perpendicular to a central core. But then at one end of the central core are ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What is this instrument on the ISS?

In this image (NASA original source) from the International Space Station. what is the "lightning rod"-like instrument at the end of the mast in the upper right of the photo?
9
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1answer
2k views

What are the two orange tabs stuck on opposite edges of each window of the ISS cupola?

The YouTube video ONE OF THE MOST DETAILED ISS TOUR!!! is cited in several Q&A here, and shows a tour and explanation of the ISS by astronaut Steven Swanson. Today I noticed between ...
9
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1answer
1k views

What is the object protruding from the left side of the payload fairing during ULA Atlas V 501 AFSPC-5 launch?

OK, What is it? I have not noticed it on previous launches. It's also visible in AFSPC-5 launch videos, for example in this one: And it also comes into view ...
8
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1answer
183 views

What are the small red cylinders used for on the bottom of the Soyuz Launch vehicle?

They are fitted on each of the first stage strap on boosters and on the second stage core and are all orientated the same way. Pipes and cables connect to the stages from the cylinders. I believe they ...
7
votes
1answer
498 views

What are the features on X-37 fairing/transport jig

Is the structure on the bottom side of the X-37 in this photo a launch fairing or a transport jig? In either case, what are the arrays of transparent-looking round things on it?
7
votes
2answers
585 views

What is this spinning object seen on a spacecraft above the ISS?

In the YouTube Trailer for the PBS program A Year in Space at 00:56 a small spinning object can be seen, attached to a spacecraft well above the ISS. I think the ...
7
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2answers
491 views

What are these antenna-like structures seen in Oleg Artemyev twitter video?

Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev's Sept 3, 2018 tweet has a narrated video of Earth from the ISS, at the time over the Nile river. The video is also in YouTube (below). At the bottom of the screen, ...
7
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2answers
353 views

What is this huge, red, blinking light structure on Earth seen from the ISS in this video?

The video ESA video Progress launch timelapse seen from space is of course striking for many reasons. However there is a strange, blinking light structure on Earth that's quite puzzling! I've added ...
7
votes
1answer
177 views

Function of this big pointy thing on the Titan Transtage? Do other upper stages have something similar?

Jonathan McDowell's tweet Six more debris objects from Transtage 17 cataloged. Here is the Gabbard diagram showing apogee and perigee for each piece - green line is the GEO altitude led me to ...
7
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1answer
318 views

What is the function of this array of what looks like mirrors on TESS?

The Mashable.com article TESS is about to become your new favorite NASA mission shows a beautiful photo of the TESS spacecraft in a state that looks like it is nearly ready to launch. There is a ...
6
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1answer
174 views

Is there really moon rock in this cathedral window? If so, how, and from where on the Moon?

This Tweet by NASA Space Flight Editor Ian Atkinson says: Some pictures from the Cathedral before the event starts, they have a table set up with artifacts from Apollo 8, including the flown ...
6
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2answers
3k views

What is Astronaut Sunita Williams wearing on her wrist?

The most recent installment of NPR's Brave New Workers A NASA Astronaut Stays In Orbit With SpaceX And Boeing (article & podcast) covers Astronaut Sunita Williams extremely cool new job. She's ...
5
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2answers
549 views

Why is there such a large range of stage numbers, including fractional stages?

Falcon 9 clearly has two stages, but the smaller two-stage Electron has a "kick-stage" so some might call that 2.5. The question Quantitative benefits of Atlas II's engine-dropping or 1.5 staging? and ...
5
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2answers
2k views

What kind of antimatter engine is this?

I found this diagram while looking up diamagnetic machines. Could anyone explain what engine this is?
5
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2answers
234 views

RIP Kepler, how shall we call your orbit? Does this cyclic flip-flop process have a name?

So long, and thanks for all the Fish Planets The captions in the NASA Ames Research Center video What Will Happen to NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft? read as follows: NASA’s Kepler space telescope found ...
5
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2answers
254 views

What is the purpose of the “shaft” and “block” in these two different engine gimbal joints?

This question refers to the device which transfers the thrust force from the engine to the vehicle while allowing the engine to swivel - the "gimbal joint". Both the F-1 and SSME have a bolt- or ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

What's the spiral pattern on this satellite?

I was looking through old saved urls and when an old Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory press release link didn't work, it sent me to the PageNotFound page, where I saw the image below. It ...
5
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1answer
271 views

Why is this rocket transparent, and why is there a nozzle in the nose, pointing up?

This tough question links to the NASA YouTube video NASA 60th: How It All Began which shows a lot of really nice, historical file footage and stills. At about 01:56...
5
votes
2answers
78 views

what's this fluffy object on the SAOCOM 1A mission's upper stage? [duplicate]

When watching the upper stage of the Falcon 9, I noticed this white or blue tuft: It changes shape a bit as time goes on. That makes me think it is something very light (cotton candy, fiberglass ...
5
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0answers
114 views

What was the design failure that Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory is alluding to?

I was looking through old saved urls and when an old Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory press release link didn't work, it sent me to the PageNotFound page, where I saw the image below. It ...
5
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0answers
108 views

What space suit is this? [duplicate]

I recently saw this picture, and it puzzles me as to what they are wearing. At first thought, I imagined that they would be space suits. But, they went in a Soyuz craft, and the suits for a Soyuz don'...
4
votes
1answer
334 views

What is this object outside the ISS that looks like a loudspeaker?

Things in space are not always what they seem. The question Why does there appear to be a 180-degree stereo microphone array outside the ISS? makes that clear. What is this object shown to the right ...
4
votes
1answer
442 views

Is this rocket design from 'The Americans' credit sequence real?

In the opening credit sequence of the TV show 'The Americans', a schematic of a rocket with 5 strap-on boosters is briefly shown: The diagram appears immediately after an elevation view of a Soyuz ...
4
votes
2answers
202 views

Identify this rocket and launch site from Gilligan's Island episode?

Since @geoffc has broken the "Gilligan's Island Barrier" with this answer I'd like to ask about the Space-themed episode 22 of Season 3 "Splashdown" which aired on February 20, 1967. What launch ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

What are these discs on the Crawler-Transporter?

I've just watched this footage of SLS's Mobile Launcher Platform being rolled out to LC-39B for fitting tests. On the front of the drive trucks are two rotating discs with red markings which are ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Who is the unnamed astronaut in this uncredited photo used in commercial promotional material?

When I linked back to Do ISS astronauts notice, or experience symptoms of elevated CO2 levels? Do they wear monitors regularly? in this question, I was surprised to find that I hadn't named the ...
4
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1answer
134 views

What is the “baby rocket” attached to the booster on this rocket? [duplicate]

@OrganicMarble's answer shows some very cool looking historical rocket launches. What is the smaller structure attached to the booster on the right side, that looks like a "baby rocket"?
3
votes
3answers
189 views

What is the largest antenna deployed in space?

@Tristan's answer says: The satellites are classified, so details are speculative, but it is believed that the Magnum/Orion and Mentor SIGINT satellites have parabolic antennae around 100 m in ...
3
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1answer
277 views

What is the meaning of this writing on the InSight lander, and why is some in Braille?

I spotted this image in this answer and a few things caught my eye. Both images are cropped from the much larger image PIA22540. First Braille in Space? On the left and right sides there is what ...
3
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2answers
560 views

What is that thing spraying during a Falcon 9 launch? [duplicate]

What are those things spraying something at the pad during the beginning of a Falcon 9 launch?
3
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1answer
100 views

Why does the Apollo-8 Trans-Lunar Injection burn appear to be pulsing in this photo?

This tweet called my attention to The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum story Photographing Apollo 8's Orbit Toward the Moon. The story is quite an interesting bit of space history and worth a ...
3
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1answer
123 views

Rocket name request: rocket company launching a rocket with a “punny” name

I'm trying to recall the name of a rocket. I read / watched about it this year, or late last year; unfortunately I cannot find it in my history. The name of this rocket, created by a company whose ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

Which Apollo Command Module is pictured here?

I recently requested help identifying what turned out to be a Sikorsky JRS-1 on Aviation.SE. One of the comments in my post led to this follow up. In the same picture there is what I'm pretty certain ...
3
votes
1answer
300 views

What are these 'Lego' plates inside the Atlas 5 fairing? [duplicate]

My local engineering newspaper has an article on the X-37B craft, with an image displaying the craft within half of the shell that encapsulates it. The shell has a number of plates arranged on its ...
3
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0answers
85 views

How did Sergei Krikalev get (or build) the drum he is shown playing here?

In this answer @horsh shows an image of Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev playing what might be an improvised drum, together with cosmonaut Sergey Volkov on guitar, aboard Mir in 1989. Is it possible ...