Posts Tagged ‘cloudy skies’

Cloudy skies and Endeavour

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

At the moment where I live we are in a phase of visible passes of the International Space Station. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I love to watch the ISS glide gracefully overhead around 240 miles up and that it fascitates me to know that there are people living and working on it.

I went outside earlier this evening when the first of tonight’s visible passes was due but I was disappointed to find that there was thick cloud above me. I knew that I wouldn’t see anything, and I usually go back inside, but tonight I decided to stay outside while it was gliding overhead even though I couldn’t see it. Tonight was special because the Space Shuttle Endeavour is docked to it. I would have loved to have seen them both go over together. When I went back inside I knew that it would only take them just over an hour and a half to travel all the way round the earth and be back again so that I would have a second chance.

This time it was dark, too dark to tell if there were clouds above me, but I couldn’t see any stars which isn’t a good sign. I waited, hoping that there would at least be some gaps in the clouds, and then I saw it. It wasn’t big and bright and right overhead as it had been a couple of nights ago, it was further south and not very clear because of the cloud, but I could see it for at least part of it’s journey overhead. It looked bigger than usual and a different shape, so I thought I could see the Space Shuttle, but it could have just been my imagination!

Endeavour was launched on it’s sixth attempt. It had been held up for over a month by gas leaks and bad thunderstorms storms over the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Eventually it began it’s journey to the ISS the day before the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 on it’s way to the Moon and man’s first Moon landing, using the same launchpad that had been used to launch Apollo 11 on 16 July 1969.

With the addition of the seven astronauts on the shuttle, a new record has been set as it’s the first time that 13 people have been in space together, breaking the previous record of 10. I hope that during the 16 days of the shuttle’s mission, there will be some clear skies for me to have a good view of the ISS and Endeavour docked together.