Last night, we were treated to a fly-by of the International Space Station, along with the space shuttle Endeavour docked to it (although we couldn’t really distinguish the two). I had read in the paper that it could be seen around 6:10 p.m. So right after dinner, I took Carlos out on the deck behind our house and told him that we should be able to see the space station go overhead. Sure enough, off to the southwest, we saw the fairly bright object making its way at approximately 17,200 mph through the sky toward the northeast. To add to the coolness factor, it appeared right between Jupiter and Venus. And I just found out today that yesterday was the ISS’s 10th birthday. Had I known that, perhaps we could have sung Happy Birthday to it. Of course, Carlos was all full of questions. What is the space station? How did it get up there? How big is it? Who drives it (that one was my favorite)? So we spent a little while watching youtube videos of a space shuttle launch and finding pictures of the space station. It was pretty cool and Carlos seemed really interested in learning more.
Here’s a few fascinating facts about the ISS:
-The ISS is the largest man-made object ever to orbit the Earth
-It has completed 57,309 orbits of the Earth or a distance of 1,432,725,000 miles (that's billion - it gets good gas mileage). As a comparison, that's roughly twice the distance from the Earth to Saturn.
-The space shuttle Endeavour, currently docked to the ISS, was the delivery vehicle of the first