Monday, December 14, 2015

Space Station - Have you seen it?

The International Space Station is one of those things that amazes me each time I see it stroll across the sky. Bill and I both had minimal knowledge of the station but until our first visit to Silver Creek RV Resort we didn't know we could actually see it!!

The sun glistens off these panels making it very visible in the night sky.

Here is what I've learned.

Years ago, in the 70's space stations were used both for military and civilian purposes. 

Today's space stations are research platforms, used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body as well as to provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles. All space stations to date have been designed with the intention of rotating multiple crews, with each crew member staying aboard the station for weeks or months, but rarely more than a year. 

The International Space Station we see today is capable of carrying a crew and stays in space for an extended period of time. The ISS allows a platform for other spacecraft to dock. This one has crew on it at all times and China has a space station, which is unmanned most of the time.

There can never be fewer than 3 crew aboard the ISS but at times there have been more than 10.

Perhaps many of you have heard of our own RCAF fighter pilot, Chris Hadfield who not only flew 2 space shuttle missions but was the 1st Canadian Commander of the International Space Station.
Chris remained aboard for 5 mths. Who else wrote songs, sang and played guitar in space? Of course we had to purchase his book!

If you wish you can check out the youtube video below of him singing one of David Bowie's songs. I think you should recognize it.   Chris Hadfield's video

The space shuttle performs scientific experiments and robotic tasks while in operation. The Canadian 17m Robotic arm which was used to assemble the ISS in space has routinely moved supplies, equipment and even astronauts.

As well as supporting the Station’s maintenance and upkeep, it is responsible for performing "cosmic catches," the capturing and docking of unpiloted spacecraft that carry everything from science payloads to necessities for the 6-person crew on board the ISS.

Today, there are 3 flight engineers aboard. Scott Kelly, an American and Mikhail Kornienko have been on board for 262 days and a Ukranian, Sergey Volkov has been on board for 103 days.

What an amazing journey for each of them, it kind of freaks me out just thinking of this type of adventure. I think I like my feet planted firmly on the ground.

If you would like to view the ISS on a regular basis or just once even, you can register to receive emails telling you when you will be able to view it. It will tell you the day, the time, the area of the sky it begins and ends as well as the length of time you can watch it. Bill and I have seen it many many times and still try to catch it on the few occasions the sky is clear enough to watch.

Here is where you register:

Then all you have to do on those days is look up.  It is the very bright light that is moving across the sky. Enjoy the sightings!

Thank you for reading!

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