I love watching the International Space Station pass overhead. It’s in a low earth orbit, so it can easily be seen with the naked eye. I love the way it glides serenely across the sky, and it fascinates me to know that there are people living and working on it.
There are several web sites that list it’s visible passes, and it turns up on the dot as predicted. Sometimes it’s not visible at all, but at other times it’s visible once or twice a day, as long as the sky is clear and not cloudy of course. We can only see it when the sun is in the right position for it’s light to be reflected from the ISS, and that’s in the early morning or just after dark.
It only takes an hour and a half for the space station to go all the way round the earth, so I can watch it go over, go into the house and cook a meal or watch a TV programme, and then go out and watch it again and in that time it’s been all the way round the world. Isn’t that amazing! It travels at an average speed of 27,700 kilometres (17,210 miles) per hour, at an approximate altitude of 350 kilometres with 15.7 orbits per day.
The two American astronauts on board were able to watch part of President Obama’s inauguration last week. They weren’t able to see all of the broadcast live, because as the ISS was orbiting the earth at high speed, the signal only arrived intermittently.
See here if you would like to see more information about the International Space Station including who is on it at the moment.