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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
Possibly Mecca, Google image search indirectly led me to a facebook post dated 4th September claiming to be Sergey Ryazanskiy's claiming the images were of Mecca.
If this is the case the uplight may be the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which according to wikipedia "On special occasions such as new year, 16 bands of vertical lights shoot 10 km (6.2 mi) up into ...
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 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 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!"
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" ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.)
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 ...
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:
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
It's a quenching probe.
After burnout of the booster was confirmed, a CO2 fire extinguisher was moved into the nozzle area to inject carbon dioxide into the booster to kill any remaining fire in order to preserve the systems in their condition at burnout, allowing for a detailed study of the components of the SRB.
This part of the External Tank is called the "LH2 Tank aft dome". There are really two large circular penetrations on it. They are the ones offset from the center of the tank.
One is the access hatch/manhole. (this description is from the LO2 tank part of the linked document. Further down it says the LH2 "manhole fitting was similar to those on both the ...
That is the space station robot arm control station aka the Robotics Workstation - one of two aboard the ISS. There's a long answer about its controls on the site already:
(What is the user interface of SSRMS)
Earthy is holding the Translational Hand Controller and her feet are resting on the Display and Control Panel.
Thrust vector control on the Titan solid rocket motors was accomplished by fluid injection rather than gimbaling the nozzles. Nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer was injected into ports around the circumference of the nozzle to alter the direction of the exhaust and control the vehicle.
The red tank contained the nitrogen tetroxide propellant used in this thrust ...
The Soyuz (booster) User's Manual from Arianespace calls them "aerofins" and says they are part of the attitude control system.
An additional image I ran across showing the aerofins and stating that they are for "auxiliary course correction in the atmosphere".
It's an Helium tank; nicknamed LHESS
This website capcomespace.net have a very good article on the subject (in french)
Extract (roughly translated):
The tanks pressurisation system preserve the tanks structural integrity, and a continuous propellant flow. The LOX tank is pressurised by 141kg of liquid helium stored at 7°K and 19 bar, warmed up by ...
That's the launch fairing (the other half is visible on the right). The silvery panels are used for noise reduction; they contain Helmholz absorbers, cavities tuned to absorb a single frequency. Each round object contains the opening of a cavity.
Without protection, the noise level during launch is loud enough to damage the payload. The absorbers reduce the ...
These are part of the cupola window temperature control system. Each window has window heaters and temperature sensing modules (these orange tabs) to make sure the windows don't get too hot or too cold. For example, if the window gets too hot, the astronauts would be instructed to close the cupola's shutters. Because of the traces I assume that each orange ...
Those are covers on the windows. There are 2 large forward-facing windows, and 2 smaller flush-mounted windows:
"Do not touch" and "Remove before flight" are not synonyms. The use of "Remove before flight" on a spacecraft that hasn't been fully assembled yet is a bit silly.
"Remove before flight" is the standard phrase for covers on an aircraft that must ...