The above window shows you in real time exactly where the ISS, International Space Station, is. With its current mass of slightly more than 277 tonnes orbiting at an altitude of approx. 325 km, the ISS is the biggest structure ever to be assembled in space. With 3 to 6 astronauts in permanent residence, it unites the United States, Canada, several European countries (under the aegis of the ESA), Japan, Russia, Italy (additional participation as regards that contributed via ESA) and Brazil. Using the observation window, you can also look and see where the Hubble space telescope and ESA’s Envisat environmental satellite are. Simply click on the pull-down menu on the right-hand side. You can regularly see the Space Station that crosses the sky like a star in the night sky. This Enjoy Space feature will explain how to find out where and when to look!
The window below is retransmitting continuous live video which comes from the ISS. A picture of the outside of the Station will be broadcast during the astronauts’ rest periods. Should the transmission be interrupted (the ISS can sometimes find itself outside the areas covered by ground relay stations and satellites), a test pattern will be shown. Sound, when available, is that of the communications between the astronauts and the ground teams.
The ISS is notably home to 3 permanent scientific laboratories: Destiny (United States), Columbus (Europe) and Kibo (Japan). Depending on the time of year, it is possible to see the ISS crossing the night sky. The Station itself does not shine but reflects the light from the Sun towards the Earth, predominantly by means of its impressive solar array. Below, follow a guided tour of the ISS with an EnjoySpaceTV video.
On Monday 6 August the Mars rover Curiosity should land on the red planet. From today Enjoy Space and Cité de l’Espace are offering you the chance to follow this event on Twitter, and then by video, direct from the NASA JPL in California!