Bookmark and Share
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.

14 September 2016
Accountancy Firm To Create Over 40 New Jobs In Belfast
An accountancy firm has announced it is to create over 40 new jobs in Belfast over the next three years. BDO Northern Ireland said the new posts will provide professional services to a range of blue chip and FTSE 500 clients within the BDO International network. First Minister Arlene Foster welcomed the announcement.
19 September 2016
New Arlene Arkinson Search Ends
A new search operation launched by police investigating the disappearance of Arlene Arkinson has ended with "nothing suspicious" found. Police had cordoned off an area near Killen, outside Castlederg, last Thursday. The area is close to where Arlene was last seen alive with convicted child killer and rapist Robert Howard.
08 September 2016
Lagan Homes (NI) To Build New Houses In East Belfast
Lagan Homes (NI) is to build a residential development, worth an estimated £120 million, in east Belfast. Millmount Village is a 90 acre site that will provide up to 700 new homes supporting the need for the development of more houses in Greater Belfast and across Northern Ireland. The project is to employ 100 people over the next 10 years.
06 September 2016
New £45m Ticketing System For Public Transport Introduced
A new £45 million ticketing system which aims to increase the number of people using public transport in Northern Ireland has been announced. Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard said the system will deliver long term benefits.
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.
23 September 2016
Martin O'Neill And Roy Keane Sign New Contracts
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane have signed new deals to remain in their posts. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) previously announced that O'Neill and his staff had verbally agreed extensions, however the paperwork remained unsigned.
21 September 2016
Metaswitch To Create Over 90 New Jobs In Belfast
Metaswitch is to create over 90 new jobs in Belfast at its new Centre of Excellence. The firm designs and develops cloud-native communications software for telecommunications software providers. Economy Minister Simon Hamilton welcomed the announcement.
12 September 2016
Newry Firm To Create 47 New Jobs
A firm in Newry is to create 47 new jobs in a £2million investment. Critical Power Systems is a new manufacturing start-up business which designs, manufactures and supplies power distribution units for the data centre market.
20 April 2011
Northcott Demolition Begins At Weekend
A supermarket project in Co Antrim will secure construction jobs for around 250 people at a time when the industry is struggling. As revealed exclusively on Tesco's Sandyknowes Centre Underway work started on the brand-new Tesco Extra and petrol filling station earlier this month.
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.
12 January 2009
Antrim Short of Social Housing
There's a dire need for more social housing in an urban area of Co Antrim - a situation exacerbated by a series of empty properties being demolished over past years - mainly to deal with antisocial behaviour and other problems of dereliction.
12 November 2014
QUB Astronomers Assist Comet Landing
Astronomers at Queen’s University Belfast are currently assisting the first ever landing by a spacecraft on an icy comet. At 08:35 this morning, a robotic lander called Philae was released from the European Space Agency Rosetta spacecraft and is currently decending to the comet.
20 August 2014
QUB Joins NASA In Solar Flares Research
Queen's University Belfast has joined forces with NASA and the Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) to investigate solar flares and their potential to cause disruption on Earth. Solar flares for the sun result in significant increases in ultra-violet radiation, which can cause solar storms and disrupt radio communication and GPS.
10 March 2014
£400k Funding Announced For Derry GAA
Funding to the tune of £417,491 has been announced for Derry GGA Culb by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland. The funding will be used for a new multipurpose sports changing and meeting space complex to be built at Lowry’s Lane, Glen Road, Londonderry.
02 December 2004
University of Ulster researcher briefs NASA
The University of Ulster is leading cutting edge research into powering the next generation of US space probes, it has been revealed.