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A busy day “up there”…

Today must rank as one the busiest ever days “up there” in space. Less than an hour ago an Ariane 5 rocket – sorry, a MIGHTY Ariane 5 rocket! – blasted off spectacularly from the ESA space port at Kourou, French Guiana, and succesfully carried two telescopes up into Earth orbit. As you read this the HERSCHEL and PLANCK observatories are safely on their way to their parking orbits, and there must be a LOT of relieved people at ESA…!

I really need to take a moment here to congratulate ESA on their live coverage of the Ariane launch. It was superb, it really was. A combination of live footage, mini-documentary videos and commentary, it was easily the best launch coverage I’ve ever seen from ESA. Well done everyone involved. πŸ™‚

And now, as you read this, two astronauts are starting a very challenging spacewalk in the payload bay of the shuttle Atlantis, which last night docked succesfully with the Hubble Space Telescope. Today’s task is to remove the old Wide Field Planetary Camera and replace it with a cutting edge, brand spanking new v3 WFPC. I’m watching NASA TV as I type this, and they seem to be having a few niggling problems, but I’m sure all will be well.

Very busy day up there… what amazing times we live in… πŸ™‚

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