Many people forget to look up. Some think of looking up at the night skies during lazy summer nights because they know we have meteor showers … some years more showy than others. Yet others spend hours gazing into the night sky.
Those flashing bright lights are usually airplanes or passenger jets. But occasionally you can see the International Space Station clipping across the vast dark skies.
Did you forget that the International Space Station (ISS) is still in a sustained Earth orbit since its first launch in 1998? Two modules became the basic form, then a few more additions extended the structure in follow-up flights. The first crew arrived in 2000. Many nations support the continuing project and each mission houses science labs and experiments. Some discoveries help people on Earth with new inventions, new medical procedures, and new medicines to tactic deadly diseases. It’s all in a day’s work for the crew.
Want to learn more? You can track the Space Station, follow its orbit patterns, and even talk directly to the crew with a specific amateur radio antenna and frequency. The only problem with direct audience with a crew member? The ISS flies by overhead for only about four minutes. You won’t have much time to gab.
However, you can track the path of this high velocity space vehicle as it crosses the skies over your head. You can also Tweet and Facebook questions for the crew, and even see daily videos of life in space. Just check out these web sites for extensive info directly from NASA.
Go to http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ to track the ISS.
For the basic introduction to all things ISS:
International Space Station
Go to http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html and find more instant facts about the current mission and its crew.
Make tracking the ISS a family-night event. And see if you can spot the ISS as it zooms silently 220 miles above you. There’s a lot going on over your head.