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I checked Heavens-above.com and can confirm I saw Tiangong 2 pass here, over Auckland, New Zealand just after 6:00pm yesterday, June 22nd. I just happened to get lucky and look up right after locking my car. It was relatively dim for a few moments then seemed to almost flare brightly like a dimmer iridium flare for a few moments, then it continued on approximately north-west as a dim dot until vanishing into Earth's shadow.

When I got inside, I checked the website for ISS and Iridium flare forecasts: none matched. It had to be either Tiangong 2 or something else not properly catalogued.
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:57 AM »
Alone in the night. Our two buddies Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold on a space walk last week, installing wifi antennas for external experiments. We were happy to help them out the door - but we were even happier to help them back in.

 
Alleine in der Nacht. Unsere Kameraden Andrew Feustel und Ricky Arnold vergangene Woche beim Außeneinsatz, um WLAN-Antennen für externe Experimente zu installieren. Wir haben ihnen dabei von innen geholfen. So richtig entspannt waren wir jedoch erst, als sie wieder hier drin waren ...

 
Credits: ESA/NASA
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:57 AM »
Alone in the night. Our two buddies Andrew Feustel and Ricky Arnold on a space walk last week, installing wifi antennas for external experiments. We were happy to help them out the door - but we were even happier to help them back in.

 
Alleine in der Nacht. Unsere Kameraden Andrew Feustel und Ricky Arnold vergangene Woche beim Außeneinsatz, um WLAN-Antennen für externe Experimente zu installieren. Wir haben ihnen dabei von innen geholfen. So richtig entspannt waren wir jedoch erst, als sie wieder hier drin waren ...

 
Credits: ESA/NASA
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:56 AM »
Outpost. 7 Billion people live on the planet beneath us. 6 single souls live in space. Unbelievable!

 
Außenposten. Auf dem Planeten unter uns leben 7 Milliarden Menschen. Im Weltraum leben 6 Menschen. Unglaublich!

 
Credits: ESA, A. Gerst
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:56 AM »
Saw my first Aurora Australis on this mission today, my silent magical old friend. 6 nose prints on the window, despite being busy with science. Quite fittingly, the ship in the foreground is the one that carried Serena, Sergey & me into space almost 2 weeks ago.

 
Habe heute meine erste Aurora Australis gesehen auf dieser Mission, still und magisch. 6 Nasenabdrücke am Fenster trotz vieler Experimente. Das Schiff im Vordergrund ist jenes, das Sergey, Serena und mich vor zwei Wochen in den Weltraum getragen hat.

 
Credits: ESA, A. Gerst
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:55 AM »
The first photo I took out the window of our Soyuz after launch. I have no idea where it is. But I was surprised to see the Earth move much faster in the lower Soyuz orbit, compared to ISS.

 
Das erste Foto aus dem Fenster unseres Sojus-Raumschiffs. Ich habe keine Ahnung wo genau das ist. Aber ich war erstaunt zu sehen, dass die Erde sich im niedrigen Sojus-Orbit im Vergleich so viel schneller unter uns wegbewegt als auf der ISS.

 
Credits: ESA, A. Gerst
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:54 AM »
I think I finally found the answer to a question I've been asked a 1000 times. "Can we see the Great Wall of China from the ISS?" Next to impossible with the naked eye. But I tried with an 800 mm tele lens. Still tough to spot. What do you think, is this it?

 
Eine der häufigsten Fragen an mich ist: "Kann man die Chinesische Mauer von der ISS aus sehen?" Ich glaube ich habe nun endlich die Antwort gefunden: Mit bloßem Auge schwierig. Aber ich habe es mit einem 800 mm Tele probiert. Was meint Ihr - ist sie es?

 
Credits: ESA, A. Gerst
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ISS Section / Re: Expedition 56 Thread
« Last post by jacqmans on Today at 11:46 AM »
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SpaceX Reusability / Re: F9 Second Stage Reusability
« Last post by ChrisWilson68 on Today at 11:18 AM »
That "1:1 mass penalty" meme is very misleading when applied to LEO launches.

Second, LEO launches can put some 20 tons in orbit, and the second stage has a dry mass of 5 tons. Instead of counting tons, count fractions.  If the stage takes a 50% mass penalty (bringing it to 7.5 tons), the payload goes from 20 to 17.5 tons.  That's not exactly the end of the world.

My money is on a towed balloon, maybe with some active system to prevent gyrations, and said system being used mostly for LEO (constellation) launches.
You make it sound like childs play if they have that much margin to play with.

And yet somehow they are still struggling 7 years after they thought they could do it.

Is it possible there are things about this problem you're missing that make it substantially more difficult?

He never said it was child's play.  Just that mass penalty isn't necessarily a huge issue for LEO launches, and he backed that up with good numbers.

And they're no more "struggling" to do it than they were "struggling" to do first-stage reuse.  It just takes time and resources.  The term "struggling" implies that they're somehow not on a path that is likely to lead to success, and there's no evidence of that.

As to the seven years, we all know that they chose for business reasons not to work on it for many years.  Now they have chosen to work on it again, though we don't know how much they've decided to focus on it.
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Advanced Concepts / Re: Realistic, near-term, rotating Space StationT
« Last post by Roy_H on Today at 11:01 AM »
One of the main objectives of this design is that there should be a walkway that is flat and goes all the way around the rim. This design is much more like a bicycle wheel with crossef cables to give more stiffness. Attached are some drawings showing the living module and an empty agricultural module.
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