The International Space Station (ISS) is a large modular spacecraft traveling in low Earth orbit. It started as a space program called “Freedom” under US President Ronald Regan.
In 1993, however, the program merged into a joint US-Russian multinational effort. The project quickly gained additional support from the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan, thereby becoming a truly “international” space station. The ISS started off as a single module named “Zarya” launched by the Russians into space on November 20, 1998, followed a few weeks later by an American module named “Unity”.
It took about two years before the ISS space station was inhabited. The first crew to live on the ISS station on November 2, 2000. The construction of the ISS station was officially completed in 2011.
Today the ISS space station has the interior volume of a large house with 5 bedrooms or two Boeing 747 jets and can accommodate 6 crew members. The station has a mass of about 453 tons and its black streak covers the Earth with a football field. It is also large enough to see with the naked eye in the dark.
The ISS orbits Earth at an average altitude of about 402km above sea level. With a cruising speed of 28.1 thousand km/h, it orbits the planet every 90 minutes. The best way to find out where the ISS is currently is to use some of the following websites.
Live Space Station Tracking Map on the NASA website is your first choice.
It has a single flight path map that shows the exact position of the ISS as it moves around the planet in real time.
It also shows where the station was located 90 minutes ago and where it is expected to be 90 minutes in the future. The map even has dark overlays showing where it’s nighttime in parts of the world. Real-time telemetry data provided by the European Space Agency includes latitude, longitude, altitude and speed of the ISS in metric or British units.
The second option is ISS Astro Viewer.
This is the product of German software developer Dirk Matussek. The site is interesting because it provides real-time ground-tracking imagery and telemetry data just like the NASA website.
It also tells you what the astronauts are seeing when they look down at Earth. If you are interested in China’s Tiangong Space Station, you can see similar data for that station.
The third option with which you can monitor the ISS station is a tool called ISS Position.
This is the product of a private group of developers who love the space. This is the simplest website that just provides a real-time image of the ISS as it moves across a global map. It can also track the Hubble Telescope, Vanguard 1 (the oldest satellite still in orbit), the NOAA weather satellite, and the world imaging satellite Landsat 7.
In addition, you can watch live images streamed from the ISS station in real time via the YouTube link of the Space channel below.
Space scientists are planning to retire the ISS space station and gradually replace it with another version until 2031. Therefore, the time to observe the movement of the ISS station is not much.
Refer to Slashgear