Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Observing the International Space Station (ISS)

49 posts in this topic

Posted

At 22.46 tonight I happened to look out when I saw a bright light flying direct overhead. Upon checking this fantastic new website, calsky.com, I was able to verify that indeed at 22.45 the ISS did fly above my house. It contains even a star chart to enable you to check its path. First time I have seen it.

There is also another website called heavens-above.com which does a similar task but this one shows much more info.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for the heads-up, Jeremy.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I have seen a couple satellites. One of them was orbiting me, the other one was orbiting jeremy. I could tell by the trajectory. Then I got pissed off because the one orbiting him was bigger, and somehow the energy shot mine right out of orbit and now it's headed for uranus.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I saw the ISS a couple of years ago while visiting the Volkssternwarte in Munich. Our guide pointed it out to us, and if I remember rightly, he said it is a fairly common sight in the sky, if you know where/when to look, and if you realise what it is that you're seeing. It was a bright point of light drifting across the still-bright evening sky close to the western horizon. If I hadn't known it was the ISS, I'd probably have assumed it was a plane.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Anything you've seen in the last few days was actually the ISS and Space Shuttle Atlantis. The Shuttle just delivered another solar array to the ISS thus it's a lot brighter than it used to be (plus the added reflectivity of having the Shuttle attached during the current mission). By the time the next solar array is delivered it will be the brightest object in the night sky after the moon.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yesterday (or the day before) all the on-board computers which regulate the oxygen and water supplies stop working. Last night cnn reported that the russian technicians had managed to regain partial communication with the computers and that they were working partially. If by the time the Atlantis has to come back they haven't manage to have them working on normal status it may be that the station's three-men crew will come back to earth for security. Link to CNN report.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Oxygen and water supply was the least of the worry with the failure of the Russian TsBM and TBM computers. Without them, Russian thrusters couldn't be used meaning the Shuttle couldn't undock without leaving the ISS to tumble. American gyroscopes can be used for long duration at a static attitude but thrusters are required to do any type of maneuver. Fortunately, 4 out of the 6 computers were restarted nominally after the other two were bypassed (there are 3 redundant TsBMs and 3 redundant TBMs - at least one of each is required). The failed computers are known to be finicky about their power supply. Whether the upstream power or the computer's power supply are to blame remains to be seen.

I used to prefer the design of the Russian segment Command & Data Handling system (CDH) to the American design but now I'm having second thoughts. Rather than the Russian system which uses two sets of two-fault tolerant computers, the US uses a network of dozens of computers, all one or two-fault tolerant, which have identical hardware but dedicated software. In the event of a hardware failure, a less important computer's components can be scavenged to build or repair a more important one. One advantage to the Russian system is that each type of computer runs its calculations in parallel with the other two; they then compare data, reject anything that doesn't fit. If one computer is voted out by the other two it goes into a diagnostic state. There are pros and cons to both philosophies I suppose.

Tidbit of info: the Russian computers were designed in Germany. They are NOT the same as the ones that the Russians used in the past.

The shuttle took a sweet pics of a TIE fighter yesterday:

post-910-1237438820.jpg

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Looks like a short range fighter.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

DW in a museum in Ulan Battar, Mongolia I saw an old Russian space suit. Rickety old thing it was.

I used to drive the Arabian desert in the finest technology roubles could buy - a Lada Niva. Now that was chunky technology. I also crossed the Gobi desert in a Russian bus - solid and easy to repair. We sprang a puncture in the steppe and these lads repaired it entirely manually in an hour.

My impression of their stuff - Russian technology is that is it is functiuonal but ugly. Is that the same when they get up there in space?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

In most cases I'd say you're right. The Russian Soyuz has been used for ~40 years and has only undergone small updates over that time. It is ugly, tiny, and not very capable compared to a Shuttle, but it goes up and down reliably and cheaply. The Shuttle has a slightly better safety record and a much better successful mission record but most significant Soyuz failures happened early in their program (ballistic reentry being the only significant failure I can think of as of late - the crew was fine).

Do you know if the suit you saw was for EVA (spacewalking) or a pressure suit for ascent and entry? The Russian EVA suit, the Orlan (Eagle), is very capable if a little hard to wear. Thomas Reiter has worn both Orlans and U.S. EMU suits and says that he prefers the EMUs. Regardless, the Orlans are very, very reliable.

Maintenance is a huge issue on any space station. Much of the time the astronauts/cosmonauts are doing preventative maintenance on the US and Russian segments of ISS. As the Russian FGB and Service Module on ISS are very similar in design to Mir's core modules it will be interesting to see if the hardware holds up better than it did on Mir (to be fair, Mir was used a lot longer than it was designed for).

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Jeremy, I saw the ISS on the 6th as well. I've seen it before - used to be on a DLR website all the time a few years ago. Lay back on the grass in the garden after dark on those warm nights with the 'traffic list', spotting and naming all the bits of metal drifting past. I like the spinners best, just after dark.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Last night, Tuesday 22nd March I was walking in West Park with my 4 year old about 8pm. We just happened to see the ISS and the Shuttle passing over head together, I'd heard the shuttle was on its way up to deliver a new solar array which will make the ISS brighter than Venus, what I didn't expect was to see them both that evening, the ISS is so bright now even without the new array deployed.

My son was so exited about it. Does anyone know where I get a table that tells us when we can expect to see the next fly by?

Topics merged by admin

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

check the nasa page. there is a realtime graph showing the position of the ISS and I think Hubble is available too.

I still remember the shuttle fly over in Toronto on top of the 747. Did look cool and odd at the same time.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Check here:

http://www.heavens-above.com/?lat=48.12393...lt=0&tz=CET

click on ISS and you'll see the next 10 - 15 overpasses. Any overpass with a magnitude brighter than -1.5 should be easily visible ("brighter than" means "the higher, but negative", i.e. -3 is "brighter than" -1).

If you click on the date, the map shows you where and when to look for it in the sky.

You can also change your location.

Have fun!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Jeremy, I saw the ISS on the 6th as well. I've seen it before - used to be on a DLR website all the time a few years ago. Lay back on the grass in the garden after dark on those warm nights with the 'traffic list', spotting and naming all the bits of metal drifting past. I like the spinners best, just after dark.

LOL I did that on holiday in Scotland in 1978... was smoking something interesting that made the whole experience a tad more noteworthy... ;)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If you are on your balcony in the next 5 minutes having a ciggy, look up.

post-48421-12775895342249_thumb.jpg

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

It's a clear night up here in the north and that should afford a nice view of the ISS.

Also, the Johannes Kepler ATV has now undocked and awaits the same fate as Jules Verne.

It may be possible to see Kepler following a short time after the ISS.

post-48421-13086008419585.jpg

post-48421-13086008554633.jpg

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

In case anyone wants to see how the space looks like from the ISS, here is the live stream - http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/isslivestream.asx

Shows up pretty cool stuff at times. ;)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Stars in your eyes?

Great!

Well don't forget, as well as the Mars Science Laboratory and the Perseid shit shower there is also some International Space Station action.

post-48421-13447118033458.jpg

post-48421-13447118395335.jpg

post-48421-13447118589033.jpg

And remember! NEVER look directly at the moon through binoculars or you may permanently damage your vision!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

A Soyuz capsule landed early today in Kazakhstan, bringing back 3 of the ISS's crew (a new expedition crew will launch in mid December, to replace the astronauts/cosmonauts that have landed today).

There was nothing particular with this landing (except that the main parachute opened a few seconds late and the capsule landed a few miles away from where it was supposed to), but I find the pictures eerie and spectacular...

Here's a sample (credit NASA):

post-123868-13533552746469_thumb.jpg

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0