Astronauts capture video of Hurricane Irene from orbit

As Hurricane Irene is hot on a possible track for Florida, an Expedition 28 crew member on the International Space Station captured video of the storm yesterday at 3:33 p.m. EDT. 

The storm was building momentum and intensity as it passed north of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which is shared by both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The view from 225 miles above is a serene look at something with such a high potential for destruction below.

As of this morning, Hurricane Irene was classified as a Category 2 storm, and continues to whip at the Dominican coastline. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the storm is expected to move over the Turks and Caicos islands this afternoon. Current five-day forecasts have Hurricane Irene ramping up to a Category 3 storm capable of 130mph winds by Friday, where it is expected to zip up the Central Florida coastline. The current forecasted path puts the storm 100 miles east of Cape Canaveral on Friday, although that’s subject to a fair amount of change.

Up in space, Expedition 28 is a joint Russian-American mission to the ISS. The mission began with an April 4 launch of Russian commander Andrey Borisenko and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev, along with American flight engineer Ron Garan. In June, Americans Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa and Russian Sergei Volkov, all flight engineers, joined the rest of the team.

The team is tasked with continuing the ongoing research in the ISS as well as prepping the space station for future missions. With the end of the space shuttle program, Expedition 28 has to provision the station with enough supplies and spare parts for it to stay operational until new orbital transporters are available. The team is also installing infrastructure upgrades to command/control and communications systems. The first half of the team will stay in orbit until September, with the latter half landing in November.

 Lead photo via @Astro_Ron, video via NASA

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