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.

12 April 2016
New Police Station Opens In Co Down
A new police station has opened in Downpatrick, Co Don. The new facility provides a base for Local Policing Teams who respond to calls for assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also includes an Enquiry Office which allows people to report crime, sign bail or arrange to speak to police.
24 May 2016
Brendan Rodgers Named New Celtic Manager
Co Antrim man Brendan Rodgers has been appointed the new manager of Celtic. Mr Rodgers, who has agreed a 12-month rolling contract with the club, said he was "absolutely delighted" to be named the new manager. He said: "This is genuinely a huge honour for me.
20 May 2016
Call For Workers At JTI Gallahers To Be Given Help To Find New Jobs
Workers who have lost their jobs at cigarette makers JTI Gallahers should be given help to find new employment, according to Sinn Féin. Approximately 500 employees are to leave its plant in Ballymena, Co Antrim, today, 20 May. MLA Daithí McKay said it is a "significant blow" to the local economy.
18 May 2016
Planning Permission Granted For New 'Town Centre' In West Belfast
Outline planning permission has been granted to develop a new 'town centre' in the Colin area of west Belfast.
18 May 2016
Library Opening Hours Could Be Cut Under New Plans
Opening hours at the 14 busiest libraries in Northern Ireland could be cut under new proposals announced by Libraries NI. A public consultation is to be held until 17 July to identify the most suitable pattern of hours in the libraries. It is planned that the opening hours will be reduced from 54 and 50 hours to 45 hours accordingly.
09 May 2016
AXA To Create 80 New Jobs In L'Derry
Insurance firm AXA has announced it is to create 80 new jobs in L'Derry. The posts will be located at its Customer Contact Centre of Excellence at Springtown Business Park. Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney welcomed the announcement. He said: "In the current economic climate every new job brought to this city is welcome and valued.
05 May 2016
Belfast Giants Captain Signs New Contract
Belfast Giants Captain Adam Keefe has signed a new contract that will see him return for the 2016/17 Elite League season. The Canadian joined the Giants in 2011 and has won two Elite League Championships with the team.
18 March 2016
US Firm To Create Over 70 New Jobs In Belfast
A US digital publishing firm is to create over 70 new jobs in Belfast. Highwire Press is to invest £6 million in new software development projects and create a total of 74 new posts.
16 March 2016
NI Manager Signs New Four-Year Contract
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has signed a new four-year contract which will see him continue in his role until 2020. Mr O'Neill led the international team to qualification for EURO 2016. His team also created history by becoming the first fifth seeds to win a European Championship qualifying group.
16 March 2016
New US Advisory Council To Be Established
A new US Advisory Council is to be established to support trade and investment between Northern Ireland and the United States of America. The announcement was made from Washington, by First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Arlene Foster said: "The US remains a vital market for Northern Ireland.
16 March 2016
New Forensic Laboratory Opens In Holywood
A new £13.9 million Forensic Laboratory has opened in Holywood. 'The Locard Building' was officially opened by Justice Minister David Ford at Seapark. It provides state-of-the-art facilities to deliver high quality forensic science services to the criminal justice system.
14 March 2016
New Child Disclosure Arrangements Launched
Parents will now able to access information about someone they suspect might pose a risk to children. Justice Minister David Ford has launched new Child Disclosure arrangements which will make it easier to check with the police if a person, who might pose a risk to children, has a criminal record for sexual or violent offences.
11 March 2016
Easyjet To Create Over 100 New Jobs At Belfast International Airport
Budget airline easyjet is to create over 100 new jobs at Belfast International Airport. The airline is adding a further 250,000 seats to its summer 2016 schedule. The additional jobs come at no cost to the taxpayer.
10 March 2016
Lisburn Firm To Create 50 New Jobs
A Lisburn firm has announced it is to create 50 new jobs. Leckey, manufacturers and suppliers of supportive equipment for children with special needs, said the jobs will be created as part of a £3.2 million investment to expand its products and boost its export sales.
03 March 2016
Ryanair Announces New Routes From Belfast
Ryanair has announced seven new routes from Belfast International Airport as part of its winter 2016 schedule. The new routes are to Alicante, Berlin, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Milan and Tenerife, while the airline also announced an additional five daily flights to London Gatwick.