It was an exciting day on Saturday, May 30 when SpaceX Falcon 9 launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It has been 5 years since the US launched the last space shuttle mission. It was even more exciting the next day when they successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS).
The ISS travels at a speed of 17, 500 and orbits the Earth about 16 times a day. It is approximately 255 miles above Earth.
At certain times of the year, it is visible to the naked eye in the sky above us. For the Charleston area, this coming week is a good time to get a look at it. To find the times when you can see it, go to spotthestation.nasa.gov and type in Charleston, SC.
Tonight you will be able to see the Space Station at 9:54 pm for about 2 minutes.
According to an article on CNBC, it will look like a fast-moving airplane and unlike a star, does not flicker. The article also talks about the brightness of the ISS coming from its massive solar panels, which reflect the light of the Sun. As the third brightest object in the sky, the ISS becomes easy to spot once you know when and where to look. To read the complete article, click here.
There are several good online sources about ISS. A free app called GoISSWatch tracks where the space station is. Another free app called SkyViewLite will pick up the Space Station before you can actually see it. Earthsky.org is a good website for information on how to spot the Space Station.
(photo credit: Geir T. Birkeland)