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US Spy Satellites Used to Drop Photos in ‘Film Buckets’ from Space for Airplanes to Catch in Mid-Air

So, you think taking your film to the local shop to get developed is a pain? Try being an American spy satellite in the 1960s. Getting your film developed then meant dropping it in a special ‘film bucket’ capsule from space, which the US Air Force then had to catch in mid-air.

Strange as this seems, this is in fact how it worked, as you can see in the video above. Photographs captured by these so-called “Corona” satellites were shot on special 70 millimeter Kodak film using two panoramic cameras that evolved over the course of the program.

The satellites carried anywhere between 8,000 and 16,000 feet of film per camera (depending on the year and thickness of the film) and once one of these rolls was spent, it would be jettisoned in a GE reentry capsule nicknamed “film bucket.” This is where it gets interesting.

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newsweek
newsweek:

Astronauts fresh off spacewalks often report that a certain faint, acrid smell tends to cling to their equipment. NASA astronaut Don Pettit described it as “a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation” akin to “welding fumes,” while others have said it reminds them of charred meat.
They were probably smelling polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are compounds produced when stars and planets form. According to Jeff Oishi, a research scientist at the Museum of Natural History in New York, PAHs are present on Earth too—they’re produced when you BBQ! But if you travel 26,000 light years to a dust cloud at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius B2, you might catch a whiff of raspberries and maybe rum.
This cloud is stuffed with ethyl formate, an ester that gives both treats their flavor. “Space is pretty boozy,” Oishi says. “There’s no liquid alcohol, but a lot of different kinds of alcohols have been observed.” The constellation Aquila contains enough space booze that, if liquefied, it could fill 400 trillion trillion pints. Interstellar pub crawl, anyone?
What Does Space Smell Like? | Mental Floss

newsweek:

Astronauts fresh off spacewalks often report that a certain faint, acrid smell tends to cling to their equipment. NASA astronaut Don Pettit described it as “a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation” akin to “welding fumes,” while others have said it reminds them of charred meat.

They were probably smelling polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are compounds produced when stars and planets form. According to Jeff Oishi, a research scientist at the Museum of Natural History in New York, PAHs are present on Earth too—they’re produced when you BBQ! But if you travel 26,000 light years to a dust cloud at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius B2, you might catch a whiff of raspberries and maybe rum.

This cloud is stuffed with ethyl formate, an ester that gives both treats their flavor. “Space is pretty boozy,” Oishi says. “There’s no liquid alcohol, but a lot of different kinds of alcohols have been observed.” The constellation Aquila contains enough space booze that, if liquefied, it could fill 400 trillion trillion pints. Interstellar pub crawl, anyone?

What Does Space Smell Like? | Mental Floss

crookedindifference

Shuttle Atlantis Wrapped Up

The space shuttle Atlantis has been encased in a protective plastic, a wrap that will keep the spacecraft dust-free while construction crews finish building the exhibit hall to showcase her to the public.

Since reaching the retirement home, Atlantis was offloaded from the 76-wheel motorized transporter and secured to beams that will be used for lifting the 152,700-pound craft into its display configuration.

Workers this week covered the shuttle with the same type of wrapping you might see around boats being shipped down the highway. It will keep the dust and debris from coming in contact with the priceless artifact in the construction zone.