20/11/2008

Space Station On View

News Image

There's a rare chance this weekend to see space travel at first hand as the NASA shuttle Endeavour and the International Space Station are both together.

The shuttle and its seven astronauts blasted into orbit earlier this week on a mission to add a new level of space station construction to the only continually manned object orbiting the earth - and people in Northern Ireland can get a chance to see the action - simply observing from the ground.

Should meteorological conditions allow it, 'naked-eye' observers may even see the space ship alongside or adjacent to the 220-mile-high space station on Sunday.

Surprisingly for many, with the use of the right data, and by moving away from city-based light interference, an earth-bound observer can catch a glimpse of the action.

Thanks to websites, such as www.heavens-above.com - which provide free access for registered users for data on individual locations around the globe - area such as north Belfast and Newtownabbey are in the frame for this weekend - but only for a few minutes each time.

On Sunday, when the shuttle is with the ISS, anyone who can get away from bright lights - and allow time for their eyes to adjust - can look south west at 6.24pm for a 90 second window when the ISS will be at the right attitude and position.

Light from the setting sun refracts off the fast moving ISS - and hopefully the shuttle too - to provide a sight of what appears to be a very fast-moving 'star' that is briefly lit-up, before being absorbed into the night as it moves on around the globe.

There's further opportunities to view on Monday too and throughout the coming week as well, with longer 'windows', but the chance to see the shuttle joined with the ISS is a rare sight, and if all goes to plan, will be possible on Sunday evening.

The shuttle is on a mission to hook-up extra cooking and sleeping equipment as well as a new water recycling system so the station's crew can expand next year.

The space agency has just 10 shuttle flights, including this one, before the fleet is retired in 2010 to make way for a new rocketship capable of taking astronauts to the space station and, eventually, the moon.

See: www.heavens-above.com

See: www.nasa.gov/topics/shuttle_station/index.html

(BMcC)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

02 February 2016
Over 20 New Jobs To Be Created In L'Derry
A L'Derry based firm is to create over 20 new jobs as part of a £1.4million investment. Nu Print Technologies, based in Springtown Industrial Estate, said the investment is aimed at growing its export sales. Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell welcomed the news.
02 December 2015
New Police Station Opens In Co Down
A new police station in Downpatrick, Co Down, has officially opened. The new station was developed to replace the Irish Street PSNI Station. The new Downpatrick PSNI Station is located on the northwest corner of the old Downshire Hospital on the Ardglass Road.
08 June 2011
ISS Spacemen Offer NI Careers Advice
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have swapped 'space walks for career talks' as they teamed up with high-flying NI students.
05 February 2016
New Changes Made To The Way Taxis Are Licensed
New changes are being made to the way taxis are licensed. The changes, which offer more flexibility and choice for customers, will come into effect on 31 May this year.
01 February 2016
Newry Firm Wins Contract In New York
FM Environmental based in Newry has scooped a contract with Grand Central Station in New York. Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell said: "This is an impressive development for a very ambitious Northern Ireland company.
10 March 2011
Moon Rise Sparks Skywatching
Clearer skies are tonight expected to allow an unusually clear glimpse of the features of the moon and allow people to witness the moonscape in detail. The clearest places are likely to be over east Antrim and much of Down and Armagh. Skywatchers will see the craters on the moon, but may not be able to see the mountains.
20 January 2016
Greenisland Murder: Eddie Girvan Was Tied Up And Stabbed In The Chest
A man from Greenisland in Co Antrim was tied up and was stabbed in the chest, police have revealed. The body of Mr Eddie Girvan, 67, was discovered by detectives at a property in the Station Road area at around 9.30pm on Monday. Three people, a 29 year old woman, and two men aged 23 and 24, have been arrested in Belfast on suspicion of murder.
19 January 2016
Three Arrested After Man's Body Discovered In Co Antrim
Three people have been arrested in connection with a man's death in Co Antrim. The body of an elderly man was discovered at a house in the Station Road area in Greenisland at around 9.30pm on Monday. A post-mortem is to be carried out and the police have launched an investigation.
25 June 2013
New Space Propulsion Firm Opens In Belfast
First Minister Peter Robinson has officially opened European Space Propulsion Ltd's (ESP) offices in Belfast. The move will create eight new senior positions as well as sustain a further 40 posts at the Thales UK facility in Castlereagh.
03 February 2016
Gang Attack Man During Burglary In South Belfast
A gang of three men have attacked another man during an armed burglary in south Belfast. The incident happened in the Diamond Gardens area at around 8.10pm on Tuesday. The men, one armed with a small knife, took the keys of a black Audi A6, and made off in the car in the direction of Finaghy Road North.
30 July 2013
Queen's Contributes To EU Weather Project
Queen's University Belfast has become part of a UK group that will build a key instrument in new European weather satellites. Research by Queen’s University’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) has led to major advances in the design and manufacture of the next generation of Earth observation satellites.
04 April 2013
Omagh Regeneration Project Approved
£4.5m is to be spent on a regeneration project for Omagh town centre. The move comes as Environment Minister Alex Attwood has approved planning for the Tyrone market town, as part of the Omagh Accessible Shared Inclusive Space (OASIS) project.
01 December 2011
Bangor Retail Park Set For Further Expansion
There's to be further infrastructure investments at a major Co Down retail park. The work is to be at the expanding Balloo Retail Park in Bangor and will help create dozens of new jobs, as well as construction or shop fitting jobs during the fitting-out phase.
21 December 2010
Derry City Centre Transformation Unveiled
A Londonderry city centre public realm scheme for Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place has been unveiled by the Stormont Social Development Minister Alex Attwood. The major £8m regeneration project, is the most significant ever made in public space in Derry, and has created a high quality, modern, urban landscape in the heart of the city.
22 June 2010
Nursery Unit 'Born' At Daisy Hill
There's been a 'new arrival' in south Down's main hospital complex. Former office accommodation beside the existing maternity unit at Daisy Hill in Newry has been completely revamped into a bright and airy space - with the building contract now completed and handed over.