Spacewalking STS-119 Astronaut captured from the ground:
                                                                                    New results and analyses
                                                                                                                                                                   R. Vandebergh

On 21 March 2009, an image was obtained from the ground, showing a spacewalking astronaut outside the ISS. This was the first image showing the reflected light of a human in space, captured by a camera on the ground in the history of astrophotography. The image is widely published on different websites and magazines. In the last years, technique for high resolution imaging of orbiting objects with smaller telescopes has dramatically improved thanks to the digital revolution. It would not last long before it became possible to capture from the ground, a man working in space. It was just a question to wait for favorable circumstances. A short summary: During the STS-119 mission to the ISS, the spacewalkers Steve Swanson and Joe Acaba were performing the second spacewalk (EVA-2) of the mission. They were at the moment of pass over Europe working at the Port 3 truss. It was great luck they were working on the Earth-facing side, for the deployment of the nadir UCCAS (Unpressurized Cargo Carrier Attachment System) during the pass. Exactly at the work-location, a light detail appeared in the frames taken in the best moments of seeing. Analysing carefully video recording data from the helmet cams of the spacewalkers it became clear the spacewalker located mostly Earth-faced should be Joe Acaba. To find out the point of pass over the observing location in the NASA-recordings, the point of orbital sunset in both the recordings from the station and the observing location was a great help. It was great luck also that the spacewalkers were working in front of the P3 truss, which is a reasonable open structure, that means it appears considerably dark as seen from Earth (with black space as a background). This helped enormously to see the high reflective white-suited astronauts. The  result shown here is accomplished from new processing of the best frames taken 7 seconds later then the early result at the bottom of this page.We see a clearer view of the spacewalker on its location on the truss: 


     Additional note: The deployed UCCAS holds now the ELC-1 (Express Logistics Carrier no 1)
This element was attached during the STS-129 mission in November.  
Comparison showing the locaton on the truss during a general pass, (left), and with the spacewalking astronaut in front of it, (right). The difference is clearly; 
   Video with explanation

                                                                  presented on APOD


 How the Spacewalk photo story continues......

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Two years later, in another occasion, a second observation of a human in space was accomplished;
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