Will We Ever See ISS and the Shuttle Together Again?

The Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday the 8th. This is the final voyage for NASA’s space shuttle program. As of this evening, there are no visible ISS passes over the Chicago area in the next 10 days. It’s a 12-day mission. I didn’t get a chance to see Endeavor while it was in the sky near the space station. If you’ve seen sighting information, let us all know. And good luck to the Final Four astronauts!

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The Endeavour Must Wait

If you’re standing outside waiting for Endeavour and ISS to fly over, you might want to pack a lunch. Endeavour has some tech/mech problems. The launch was scrubbed this morning, and NASA is saying the delay will be at least 72 hours.

I feel bad for the thousands of people who traveled to Florida to watch the launch. Obviously, that’s not an inexpensive trek. I’ve got NASA TV on, with just a live shot of the shuttle on the pad. It’s steaming; probably out of frustration. Though I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be doing that.

So stay tuned. As everyone knows by now, everything has to be in perfect condition before they’ll attempt to launch again.

On a positive note, I hope you saw the footage of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords walking up the steps into a plane yesterday, on her way to watch Capt. Kelly head into space. That was great to see. All the best to her. Hopefully she’s able to stay in Florida, or get back when the launch is rescheduled. Best wishes, Rep. Giffords!

ISS Passes

“And what writers have to feel like, when they suddenly discover, they’ve been read”.

A line from one of my favorite Aaron Neville songs, “Arianne”.

Lest I be accused of lumping myself in with real writers, I don’t. But one of the cool things about blogging is seeing how traffic is directed, and someone ended up here recently after searching “when is the International Space Station visible”. And I realized that they would not have gotten an adequate answer from my blog. So if it happens again, allow me…

I use 2 sites for ISS pass info. First, my Twitter feed includes @Twisst. Each time there is a visible pass over my zip code, @Twisst sends me an alert letting me know the time and location where the ISS will appear. What Twisst doesn’t tell me, however, is what direction she’ll be traveling. For that information, I go to this URL   http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings
This allows me to see what time the ISS will first appear, at what degree to the horizon, which direction it will travel, and how long it should be visible in the sky. It’s a simple application that requires you only to enter your zip code; it does the rest of the work for you. Besides standing outside and looking up, of course.

On April 29, the Space Shuttle Endeavour will launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Just prior to docking with the ISS, and just after departing the ISS, both vehicles will be visible overhead. With just one more shuttle launch after Endeavour, these will be the last few opportunities to see them together. I saw Discovery a few weeks ago flying in front of the Space Station after undocking. It’s a spectacular sight. I urge you to go out and take a look.

4/24/11 Add another site to your ISS searches: http://www.heavens-above.com  You can again input your zip code and get a very detailed  list of passes over a 10-day period.