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Tips on spotting the International Space Station

Artist's conception of Zvezda module right before docking with the space station. Courtesy NASA.
Artist's conception of Zvezda module right before docking with the space station  

(CNN) -- The International Space Station should be easy to locate from the ground. Even without the new service module, which docked with the orbiting outpost early Wednesday, the other two segments together rank among the largest spacecraft ever in orbit.

The high-flying collection of hardware looks like a bright, slowly moving star when it passes overhead in the nighttime sky.

Orbiting about 240 miles (384 km) up and traveling 5 miles (8 km) per second, the clustered craft takes three or four minutes to cross the sky in a generally west-to-east direction.

Since it travels in an orbit inclined 52 degrees to Earth's equator, the space station periodically drifts over most populated landmasses, including all of the continental United States and much of Europe.

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

The following Internet sites provide predictions for where and when to look for the space station.

  • Sky & Telescope's Visibility Predictions for the ISS

  • NASA SkyWatch

  • Where is the ISS?

Sky & Telescope contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Key module poised for space station rendezvous
July 25, 2000
Key module heads for rendezvous with space station
July 12, 2000
Space station project icing on the clouds for students
June 13, 2000
Atlantis returns after successful mission
May 30, 2000

RELATED SITE:
Human Space Flight (HSF) - International Space Station
Boeing's International Space Station site

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