​Terry Virts Photos: NASA Astronaut Shares Iconic Photos During Time At Space Station

Author: Jennifer HongBy:
Staff Reporter
Dec. 16, 2015

NASA astronaut Terry Virts shared a group of photos on his last full day in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS). One picture captured a truly iconic shot of the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt as the astronaut returned from the space station, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Virts snapped the exquisitely sharp view of the Egyptian pyramids at Giza on June 10 looking out from the stations windows. Terry took the photo just hours before entering the Soyuz return spaceship and closing the hatches behind him for his planned plummet back to Earth.

He proudly posted the spectacular photo on his twitter social media account from space while serving as station commander of Expedition 43.

Terry Virts took several photos of the three pyramids of Giza, which dominated the fantastically beautiful photo. They are located about 5 miles from the town of Giza on the Nile, and some 15 miles southwest of the Egyptian capital city of Cairo.

The Great Sphinx is also located nearby the massive complex of the Great Pyramids and visible in the stunning photo.

Virts and his international crewmates from Russia and Italy just returned home safely to a sun drenched and toasty touchdown on the remotes steppes of Kazakhstan on June 11. Terry departed from the massive orbiting complex aboard their Russian Soyuz TMA-15M ferry craft.

Apparently the Pyramid photo proved to be quite elusive for Terry. It took Virts the entire length of his six months duration flight to finally take the stunning close up photo he longed for and achieved, with no time left to spare.

“It took me until my last day in space to get a good picture of these!” he tweeted from the ISS on June 11.

The multinational Expedition 43 trio comprised Commander Terry Virts of NASA, Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency).

They undocked from the orbiting outposts Russian Rassvet module as scheduled in the Soyuz TMA-15M spaceship at 6:20 a.m. EDT, June 11, while soaring some 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Mongolia.

Earlier in the mission, Cristoforetti captured a wider angle view of the Great Pyramids of Giza, shown for comparison below. Modern civilization juts up very near to the ancient pyramids.

The largest pyramid, known as the Great Pyramid or Pyramid of Khorfu was built over around 10 to 20 years and completed around 2560 BC. It measured about 146.5 meters (481) feet in height when it was originally built. At the base it has a width of 230.4 meters (765 feet).

Altogether, the Expedition 43 crew served nearly 200 days on board the ISS.

During his just concluded stay aboard the ISS during Expedition 43, Virts did three spacewalks totaling 19 hours and 2 minutes. Including the nearly 200 day mission, Terry raised has total cumulative time in space to 212 days.

Virts was a prolific photographer taking photos during his duty time in orbit. A few more of his shots including one of many nighttime photos, a shot of the Soyuz return vehicle and his very last shot, a magnificent view out the stations windows, and a large one of Earth.

The Expedition 43 flight was extended at the last minute due to the surprise launch failure of a Russian rocket carrying a station bound Progress resupply ship in late April.

The Progress 59 cargo vessel, also known as Progress M-27M, spun wildly out of control as it separated from the Soyuz-2.1A carrier rocket. The freighter and all its 2.5 tons of contents for the crew were destroyed during an uncontrolled plummet as its crashed back to Earth on May 8, shortly after Terry Virts took his photos.

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