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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

There it is! The International Space Station streaking across your sky, maybe right now.

If you haven't seen this marvel of the modern world streaking across your sky at nearly five-miles per minute, you must! In fact, you just might be able to see it tonight. 

It is a splendid, awe-inspiring sight looking at the International Space Station with American Astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fisher and Russian Cosmonaut and mission commander Fyodor Nikolayevich Yurchilhin aboard.

 This is how they see us. 

                                                        This is how we see them.
The International Space Station (ISS) is the most complex international scientific and engineering project in history and the largest structure humans have ever put into space. This high-flying satellite is a laboratory for new technologies and an observation platform for astronomical, environmental and geological research. As a permanently occupied outpost in outer space, it serves as a stepping-stone for further space exploration. 
You know we plan to go to Mars in the 2020s and the list of those desiring to be on that first 9-month flight is in the thousands, all with the knowledge that they will not come back, living the rest of their lives on the Red Planet. That's exploring for you.
The initial ISS module was put into space in November, 1998 and received its first crew in November, 2000. It has been built on and continually occupied by various multi-nation crews. Current plans call for its use through 2020 and no doubt, beyond.
The space station flies at an average altitude of 248 miles above Earth. It circles the globe every 90 minutes at a speed of about 17,500 mph, 15 revolutions a day. In one day, it travels about the distance it would take to go from Earth to the moon and back. The space station can rival the brilliant planet Venus in brightness and appears as a bright moving light across the night sky. It can be seen from Earth without the use of a telescope by you when know when and where to look, which I will show you in a few paragraphs.
Five different space agencies representing 15 countries built the $100-billion International Space Station and continue to operate it today.
A full size duplicate of the module core and cockpit can be seen in Seattle's Museum of Flight and it is definitely worth the trip. Oh, an you can see a retired SST and many other fascinating aircraft and lore. Definitely worth the trip if you love this stuff... and even if you don't.
Wanna' know where and how to see the ISS (International Space Station) over your skies? Get the app ISS Spotter available free at ITunes and wherever free apps are given away. (I know, redundant, but cute.) 

The opening page of this app looks like this and it is a live show of the current ISS path around the globe and where it is at that precise moment. You can expand the page to see the whole earth and where it was the last two orbits. And you will be able to see how fast that bugger moves. It's an eye-opener itself.

 Then you go to page 2 and it lists the exact times and locations over where you are... and it is precise to the second. If you track it, you will see that just minutes before where you are, it is someplace over the Pacific, some impossible distance away. Amazing, really. It lists morning and evening viewing times over a number of days it is visible to you. And there are quite a few to choose from, you'd be surprised
So enjoy the amazing and the pioneers that took us there. 

FYI: I was at Kitty Hawk just a few months ago. The Wright brothers took the first ever flight in 1903--a mere 852 feet in 59 seconds, but a beginning.. It took us just a few generations to put a man on the moon in 1969. Maybe just another 60 years and we will put people on Mars. Where then? Now if we could just figure out how we can live on earth, THAT will be some accomplishment.

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