Just a few days ago, the U. S. led International Space Station reached a significant milestone: a dozen years of continuous human occupancy.
NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko arrived aboard a Soyuz capsule on Nov. 2, 2000 for a 141-day expedition. Shepherd served as the station’s first commander.
The orbiting science lab, currently home to six full time crew members, remains a model for international cooperation by uniting the efforts of the Canada Space Agency, Europe Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency as well as NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency.
With the help of the astronauts, hundreds of scientists and engineers from around the world are currently carrying out more than 160 experiments and technology demonstrations, the kinds of activities that pave the way for future missions of deep space exploration, while improving life on the Earth.
The station circles over 90 percent of the Earth’s population, affording an unprecedented opportunity for humans to keep an eye on activities below.
That was evident in late September as Hurricane Sandy took aim at the U. S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
The station’s orbital perch also offers regular opportunities for Earthlings to look up and spot the outpost as it crosses the sky.
As it marked the 12-year occupancy milestone, NASA previewed a new service to help observers look up and spot the bright fast moving spacecraft.
Go to the website: http:spot the station.nasa.gov.
Enter a few pieces of information about your location to begin receiving an email or a text message with the details of an upcoming opportunity to spot the space station. The station is visible in the early morning, or late evening hours, where skies are clear. The notices will come a few hours ahead of time and ahead of only the best sighting opportunities.
Experts from NASA compile these sighting opportunities for 4,600 locations worldwide.