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  • Beauty Shots
    Posted by Frank Morring, Jr. 6:47 PM on Jun 07, 2011

    It took a while to get them back from the drugstore, but Paolo Nespoli's spectacular shots of the International Space Station are finally available for viewing.

    blog post photo
    NASA/Paolo Nespoli

    After the Soyuz capsule returning European Space Agency astronaut Nespoli and two ISS crewmates  home from a five-month tour in orbit undocked May 23, the Italian-born spacefarer returned to the capsule's habitation module for a short photo session of the receding space station, with the space shuttle Endeavour docked to its Harmony module at top.

    blog post photo
    NASA/Paolo Nespoli

    It was the first time a shuttle has been photographed docked to the ISS, and with the fleet retiring after the next mission likely the only time as well. A Soyuz crew photographed Atlantis undocking from the Mir station during the STS-71 mission in 1995.

    The results of Nespoli's photo shoot were spectacular.

    blog post photo
    NASA/Paolo Nespoli

    The Soyuz landed safely a few hours later with Nespoli, Soyuz commander Dmitry Kondratyev and flight engineer Catherine Coleman of NASA.

    But the photos are only being released today because -- on orders from Kondratyev, according to NASA -- Nespoli left the camera's memory card in the Soyuz capsule on the steppe of Kazakhstan.

    The digital camera, and a separate high-definition video camera Nespoli used, burned up on reentry with the rest of the habitation module.

    See the Aviation Week space photo gallery for the whole set of nine images released today. More images and Nespoli's video will be released on the NASA website as soon as they are processed, NASA says.

    Tags: os99, Soyuz, ISS, Endeavour, Nespoli

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