The USSR's next-to-last crewed launch was Soyuz TM-12, flying to Mir, carrying two Russians and the UK's first astronaut, Helen Sharman.
Here's a photo of TM-12 on the launch pad with the UK flag visible.
Several nations partnered with the USSR and sent astronauts to Mir during this time period, and in each case the appropriate national flags were painted ...
If you use the YouTube commands for single framing ( , and .) you can clearly see the rocket retaining rings around the body which are ejected outwards by pyrotechnics as it leaves the launch/storage tube.
These rings keep the rocket centred in the tube and are ejected to make the aerodynamic body for flight.
They are burns, with the direction of the arrow roughly indicating the direction of thrust.
Earth orbit insertion
Lunar orbit insertion
Burn to drop out of lunar orbit for landing (LM)
Ascent from lunar surface (LM)
Lunar orbit insertion (LM)
Whew! Found a ...
The photo is of the launch of Gemini 11 on September 12, 1966. The Saturn V in the background is SA-500F, a "Facilities Integration Vehicle". This was a nearly complete Saturn V that was used to test integration with the launch facilities at Kennedy Space Center:
Tests included the mating of the Saturn's stages in the Vehicle Assembly Building (...
That is a UHF antenna. It was well placed on the Lab to get in the way of robotics ops during space station assembly.
This is a picture of a different UHF antenna unit (this one is on the P1 truss segment) but it's clearly the same device. Fortunately this is from a credible source, NASA's ISS Flight Systems brochure (warning, pdf). I can't quite figure ...
It's simply the spotlights illuminating the ship, and shining up the bore of the engines. Notice the shadows of the vertical stabilizer from the same source.
When the shuttle landing direction is determined, URS Corp. air
traffic controllers in the runway control tower will communicate with
Bordeaux and his team on the ground. Then two of the ...
Well I confirmed via Google Maps that this is Mecca. As shown in the map and image below the roads align with those lighted in the image. The dark areas in the first image are steep hills to the East.
The brightly lit region is the Kaaba and large Masjid al-Haram Mosque, and the bright up light is indeed the Makkah Royal Clock Tower.
That is the Rotating Service Structure.
It can be rotated to fit over the Shuttle while it is on the pad, giving access to the Shuttle cargo bay. The empty space allows the RSS to fit over the launch platform.
It's not floating, the leg on the left side of the photo is part of the RSS.
This is a detail of the leg:
You can see the cab and wheels used to ...
I found this article on the site of the Russian news agency Vesti.
Подземный бункер пуска - самое близкое к старту место. Над ним специальные бетонные столбики, так называемые волнорезы, чтобы ударная сила не повредила этот стратегический объект.
The underground bunker is the closest place to start. Above it are special concrete columns, so-called ...
The jacket is to control the Propellant Mean Bulk Temperature, a critical factor in solid rocket motor performance.
The silos for the missiles that the launcher was derived from were air-conditioned for this reason.
the Minuteman boosters in the
Lower Stack were designed to be launch (sic) from a climate
controlled silo with virtually no outside weather ...
In order to prevent bacteria in the solid waste from producing gas, which could rupture the storage bags, a germicide was added to the bag after use and "kneaded in" to mix it with the waste once the bag was sealed. The germicide would kill the bacteria and render the potential poo-bomb inert.
I haven't seen this germicide referred to as a "pill" ...
That is the remnant of one of the attachments between the Command and Service modules (there were three). Here is a cutaway drawing showing the bolt penetrating the heat shield (labeled "tension tie").
From Apollo Experience Report Spacecraft Structure Subsystem
Here's a closer picture showing that the circular areas are not penetrations.
It's the ECS RADIATORS / HEATER / PRIM 1 - PRIM 2 switch.
Having given many tours of the cockpit in the shuttle simulators, it's very common to have someone say "Turn around for the camera and put your finger on a switch!"
The small separated cells had several functions.
Six individual units, the "solar aspect cells", were each oriented and attached as if they were on the sides of a cube to identify the spacecraft's attitude. (This is probably the 2nd and 4th pictures above) This was a time when onboard electronics, and particularly computation, was expensive, so these were ...
It's the Project Mercury / Mercury Seven emblem.
The astronauts went under the name Mercury Seven, and the program design includes the number seven. The symbol represented around the seven is the astronomical symbol for the planet Mercury, and the medieval sign for the element mercury as well. It consists of the biological sign for female, topped with “...
That's a spare part - a spare Space to Ground Antenna dish for the Ku band. It's mounted on an External Stowage Platform. It was brought up on STS-127.
From the STS-127 Press Kit Mission Objectives (p 17) (emphasis mine):
Install Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) to Payload Orbital Replacement Unit Accommodation (POA)
Remove and replace six Port ...
It turns out, my first hunch was half-right: the purpose of this large fan is not so much to carry away, but to disperse both toxic and explosive chemicals.
It is called the Vapor Dispersal Unit, and I vastly under-estimated its power:
The Vapor Dispersal Unit is a mobile wind-making machine able to produce a directed wind stream of up to 45 mph. It is ...
It is an access hatch used during construction and maintenance.
This part got at least some media coverage during the scrubbing of STS-121, when a Engine Cutoff (ECO) sensor, a fuel gauge, mounted behind that cover, inside the Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) tank, malfunctioned, causing that launch to be delayed, while the sensors were ...
Just to add to @Jack's correct answer you can see the rockets in Ibaraki, Japan via Google Maps, you can see the two rockets (and even make out the red rocket part):
(Just FYI - I screenshotted your image (just the rocket part), saved as a .jpg, then did a reverse Google Image Search which quickly found the rockets.)
You probably mean RapidScat. It is a microwave scatterometer that measures near-surface wind speed and direction.
Here's RapidScat in action, installed on Columbus module's External Payloads Facility (CEPF), as seen from one of ISS external cams:
That's the intertank - the cylinder that connected the bottom of the LO2 tank to the top of the LH2 tank.
It didn't contain propellant, but did contain the forward interface with the Solid Rocket Boosters, and was built for lightness and strength, with skin-stringer construction. The ribs you see were the stringers.
The intertank is a steel / aluminum ...
Service module attachment point
The service module (SM) was attached to the command module (CM) using tension members which pulled the two modules towards each other. The SM used cups that rest on the compression pads on the CM heatshield (also visible in your photo).
This cross section shows the CM on the left, heat shield in the middle and the cups of ...
The cartoon characters are the mascots for the 2022 Winter Olympic games & the Winter Para Olympic games.
The panda figure on the left is for the Olympic Games and the red figure of the right is for the Para Olympic Games.
The lines that exited at the end of the nozzle were drain lines carrying leakage from seals, output of hydraulic actuator drain lines, etc. The following schematic shows the various systems attached to these drain lines. Source: Rockwell SSME Pocket Data Book, R/RD87-142.
This graphic differentiates between the transfer ducts (which carried the hydrogen ...
Organic Marble beat me to it, but in the interest of teaching people to fish:
There's a handy panel locator figure which subdivides the command module control panel into several lettered areas as well as a grid reference. This switch is in area "P", grid J-34 on panel 2.
Looking up that location in the table near the start of the controls and displays ...
This has been answered before, but I chose not to just mark it a duplicate because there is one new reason for the header tank unique to Starship.
In a Reddit AMA in 2017 where Elon Musk answered questions about the original ITS design, he answered a question about the header tanks:
Those are the header tanks that contain the landing propellant. They are ...
Those pillars intended to decrease a damage if a launcher falls just on start.
The only mention of this I found is in russian language blog post about a travel to Baikonur:
Внизу, чуть в стороне, поле, утыканное бетонными столбиками, если ракета падает на старте, пусть лучше разломается на этих столбиках – разрушений при взрыве будет меньше.
Below, slightly ...
It looks like JAXA's H-II launch vehicle to me.
I believe we're looking at the business ends of the core stage (right) and the one of the side boosters (left).
The H-II was retired in 1999 and superseded by the H-IIA, so these stacks are on display at JAXA's Tsukuba Centre - the vehicle and booster can be seen in the aerial image on the homepage. Here's ...
The black thing on the right is a SNAP-27 RTG. and the box on the left is an ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package) that it powers.
Here's a picture of the ALSEP for Apollo 12:
And here is Alan Bean attaching it to the RTG with the antenna to make the barbell object in your original image:
As to the second part of the question, it is clearly a ...