I is for International Space Station

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@Astro_Flow Was on Two Space Flights to the International Space Station

@Astro_Flow Was on Two Space Flights to the International Space Station

Ever look up into the dark sky and see a white light ease its way across the galaxy? Chances are, you just saw the International Space Station (ISS).

Humans first started occupying the ISS in 2000 and since then, it’s been visited by 202 individuals. During NASA Tweetup last April, Astronaut Leland Melvin (@Astro_Flow) who logged 565 hours in space with two spaces flights to the ISS compared being on it a Benetton commercial because of the international diversity. (Melvin is now NASA Associate Administrator for Education.)

NASA launched space shuttles to deliver supplies and conduct studies but since the shuttle program retired in 2011, the U.S. space agency has been looking for alternatives to deliver supplies and American astronauts to the International Space Station.

Former NASA Astronaut Now SpaceX Engineer Garrett Reisman with Dragon Capsule, July 8, 2011

Former NASA Astronaut Now SpaceX Engineer Garrett Reisman with Dragon Capsule, July 8, 2011

SpaceX: Next Generation of Spacecraft
Sure our Russian friends are still launching spacecraft but something very exciting is scheduled to happen later this month. The first time in history a commercial company will attempt to send spacecraft to the International Space Station. The company SpaceX is a space transport company selected by NASA to resupply the Space Station. This is an unmanned mission.

Lift Off! United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket Carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, View from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Press Site, Nov. 26, 2011

Lift Off! United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket Carrying NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, View from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Press Site, Nov. 26, 2011

3…2…1…Lift Off!
With an April 30 target lift off at 12:22 p.m. EDT, SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Will I attend the launch? Possibly, it’s the week of my birthday and seeing a rocket launch is AH-MAZING. If you haven’t seen one, I highly recommend it, however, be flexible when planning a visit. As I learned from space shuttle launches, and more recently, the Mars Curiosity Rover launch, lift off can be delayed for a variety of reasons.

If you’re planning on seeing the launch, NASA Kennedy has a list of suggested rocket launch viewing sites. I saw the final space shuttle launch from Space View Park and would do it again.

View of Space Shuttle Atlantis from Space View Park, Titusville, Fla., July 7, 2011

View of Space Shuttle Atlantis from Space View Park, Titusville, Fla., July 7, 2011

ISS Fun
Did you know the width and length of ISS is equivalent to a football field?

If you have a Twitter account, follow @twisst to receive a tweet notifying you when the International Space Station will be visible above your location. I’ve been outside in the dark many a times looking up in awe thinking people are up there conducting research to improve the quality of life on earth.

More than 550 experiments have been or are currently being conducted on ISS ranging in human life sciences, physical and material science and Earth and space science. Read about was accomplished last year in the 2011 NASA Spinoff Report (give it time to download).

Have the slightest interest in space? Then you may enjoy the book Packing for Mars by Mary Roach in which she chronicles history of space exploration and how space agencies are preparing for Mars. I enjoy her matter-of-fact and humorous writing. She’s not writing from a scientist’s perspective but for everyday people like us.

So tell me, have you ever looked up to see the International Space Station and wave? C’mon, admit it. I have. Plenty of times.

This post is part of the 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Check back daily for a different letter!

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve lived very close to KSC for almost three years. It’s really cool to watch the launches from my front porch!

  2. Amazing I must admit – still I don’t understand why there is so much money thrown at programs like this … not everybody have health care and good schools. Sorry! I personal think the money should be spent on earth first of all. You go for it! Enjoy your birthday and enjoy the launch.

  3. That’s so neat you lived that close! Living across the state I could see many of the shuttles once it was in the sky and regret my first shuttle launch was last year.

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