A Crew-2 astronaut snapped a lucky shot of the Falcon 9 second stage during his journey to the ISS.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet was treated to some spectacular sightseeing on his way to the ISS over the weekend. A member of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission, Pesquet shared a couple of mind-bending views of the journey that are like a space version of Where's Waldo.
Pesquet tweeted a photo on Sunday showing a wide expanse of blue Earth dotted with white clouds as seen from the window of the Crew Dragon. There's a bit of a Falcon 9 rocket hiding out in the image.
"I took a very lucky shot: as I was getting out of my spacesuit and looking out the window, I happened to spot our 2nd stage of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, flying in formation with us on a perfectly parallel track, but lower... two tiny objects 200 km above Earth!" Pesquet wrote.
The second stage is part of the rocket system that escorted the Crew Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Once it's done its job, it disconnects from the capsule and goes its own way, eventually reentering the planet's atmosphere. If you're having trouble spotting it, blow the image up and take another look. It blends in well with the clouds.
Pesquet wasn't done yet. He shared a second photo on Sunday that at first glance looks like a typical view out the Crew Dragon window showing the curve of Earth and a dark expanse of space. But there's more than meets the eye.
Hiding in the black is a tiny dot of brightness where the ISS appears in the distance. "Our destination, brightly lit by the sun, looked like a tiny insect in the sky, when it is 70m wide in reality," Pesquet wrote. "Another stroke of luck as I was looking out the window."
Pesquet joined NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide on the Crew-2 mission, only the third SpaceX Crew Dragon flight with humans on board.
Crew-2 is scheduled to last for six months on the ISS, giving Pesquet plenty more opportunities to capture some lucky space snapshots.
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