What is the size of a football field, has a gym, and the best view in our solar system?READ MORE: Man Hospitalized After Hit-And-Run In Brooklyn Park
The International Space Station is an orbiting laboratory or habitable artificial satellite (fancy!) and serves as a space port for a myriad of multi-national spacecraft.
At the time of its 10th anniversary in November 2010, the ISS had logged over 1.5 billion miles and completed 57,361 orbits around the Earth. The ISS measures 357 feet end-to-end, about the size of a football field, and weighs nearly 1 million pounds — 924,739 pounds to be exact!
And it’s no shabby space abode. The International Space Station has a livable room akin to a six-bedroom home, with two bathrooms, a gymnasium, and a 360-degree bay window for an out-of-this-world view (had to make the joke). The ISS orbits Earth about every 90 minutes, thus there is a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes.
Fifty-two computers control the systems on this projectile-ing pad. The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power needed for the ISS are supplied by an acre of solar panels.
Mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas monitors orbit and directs the station program. And if you thought figuring out your iPhone was a challenging task, just imagine the effort required to maintain this revolving residence — a host of domestic and international partners to operate fleets of vehicles and launch locations to rotate crew members, replenish propellant, provide science experiments, necessary supplies and maintenance hardware, and remove and dispose of waste.READ MORE: Aromatherapy Spray Linked To Deadly Tropical Disease; 1 Minnesotan Among Those Sickened In U.S.
Despite its complex technology, one of the vital components to maintaining the ISS is Velcro. In this zone of perpetual “microgravity” (i.e. very weak gravity) all objects are Velcro-ed to wall surfaces (though there are no true “walls” as there is no discernable ceiling or floor). Even the astronauts’ toothbrush and toothpaste are subject to Velcro as the last place one would want to lose a toothbrush is in the middle of space …
Sleep can be an interesting endeavor in the ISS’ microgravity environment as the astronauts snuggle into a (literally) space-age sleeping bag complete with torso and head strap.
For those of us who prefer the benefits of gravitational pull at bedtime, we’re still able to catch our own earthly view of the International Space Station. The ISS passes multiple times each day and is easy to spot as it is the 3rd brightest object in the sky.
In Minneapolis this evening, the ISS will pass …
- At 6:42 p.m. — appears in N sky and disappears in the ENE; visible for 3 minutes at a maximum angle of 25°
- Again at 8:17 p.m. — appears in NW sky and disappears in the NNW; visible for 2 minutes at a maximum angle of 38°
To calculate “Spot the Station” times for other locations and/or dates, check out this link. Happy viewing!MORE NEWS: Child Hurt In St. Paul Shooting; Investigation Underway
And of course, if you snap a great photo of the ISS, tweet me @LaurenCaseyWCCO!