Where is the Space Station?
What and Where is the Space Station?
The next time you are outside on a clear night, take a look up at the sky, and you might just see an astronaut fly by. The International Space Station (ISS) quietly orbits the Earth about once every 90 minutes. At an altitude of roughly 200 miles, that works out to a mind-boggling speed of about 17,500 miles per hour! Up to six crew members live and work on the ISS at any given time, and it is large enough and bright enough that you can see it at night with your very own eyes. So the next time the ISS is in your neighborhood, step outside, wave to the crew, and enjoy the moment. It is a powerful testament to science, engineering, and the audacity of the human spirit.
International Space Station Viewing
How can you find out when and where to look for the International Space Station? Check on the Internet at heavens-above.com – a German website developed and maintained by Chris Peat. Once you enter your location, you can see when the next visible pass will occur. The website will tell you what time, which direction, and how high to look, as well as how bright the ISS will appear. The ISS looks like a brilliant star, but moves much faster – tracking across the sky in about four or five minutes.
Tracking the International Space Station and Other Satellites
Once you get the hang of locating the ISS, try spotting other man-made objects in the night sky. Literally thousands of these objects are in orbit around the Earth. On one night, you may spot the Hubble Space Telescope. On another night, you might catch a glimpse of a research satellite or even a piece of space junk, and before you know it, you too may be hooked, waiting to see an astronaut fly by.