International Space Station (ISS)

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December 2, 2022

International Space Station (ISS)

ISS is the biggest artificial satellite currently orbiting our planet. It’s first component was launched in 1998. This satellite is a joint project by Several space agencies (NASA of USA, Roscosmos of Russia, JAXA of Japan, ESA of European Union, CSA of Canada) belong to several countries. This station is built as a habitable laboratory to conduct research works on several fields of science including Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology, Mereology. ISS provides a microgravity and space environment conditions for these researches. The first long term residents arrived on 2nd November 2000 (20 years ago)

ISS is in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with an average altitude of 400km above the surface of the earth it has 2 engines onboard and it can use the engines of visiting spacecrafts to maintain this orbit. It goes around the planet 15.5 times a day with an orbital period of 92 minutes.

ISS is 109m by 73m in size (as large as a football field), this size and the reflectivity of its construction materials make the ISS clearly visible to naked eye. If we look through a telescope even the shape of the ISS can be seen.

Given that the ISS rotates around earth nearly 16 times a day, ISS sighting is a common occurrence since its launch. Because the ISS is in a LEO, it is covered from the sunlight during the flight over night side of earth and lit from behind over the day sky. Thus, its only visible during evenings and mornings. You have to know where to look and at what time if you want to spot the ISS.

There are several mobile phone apps and website that lets you know details of ISS sightings. One of which is https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/ website maintained by NASA.
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