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ISS VISIBILITY



Space station visible in sky

      By Steven Siceloff
      FLORIDA TODAY

      CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Want to have a nighttime look at the orbiting
      International Space Station, where astronauts and Russian cosmonauts
      will live and work during the next few years? 

      Simply log onto the Internet, type in your zip code, and the computer 
will tell
      you when the station will pass over your home. 

      Said Patrick Meyer, who designed the Internet program, "It will be easy 
to
      use -- for everyone." 

      Once you find the location of the station, your adventure will begin, 
and
      you'll probably be surprised by what you see. 

      "The space station is fairly bright right now," Meyer said from his 
office at
      Marshall Spaceflight Center in Hunstville, Ala. "It's almost as bright 
as
      Polaris, the North Star." 

      And as more pieces are added to the station, particularly the massive
      solar panels, it will become even brighter. 

      The station will be the easiest to spot after it is completed between 
2005
      and 2007. 

      By then, it will be 300 feet long, weigh 1 million pounds and rival the
      shining planet Venus as the brightest object in the nighttime sky. 

      But, as Meyer said, the station is bright and visible even now, as it is
      taking shape. 

      The two pieces in orbit are the Russian-built Zarya and the U.S.-built 
Unity.

      A third part, Russia's Zvezda Service Module, is to arrive at the 
station late
      Tuesday night and will be used for living quarters and power to keep the
      space outpost in a safe orbit about 240 miles above Earth. 

      One thing: Don't expect to view the station for a long time. 

      The longest the station will be over your home will be about 10 minutes,
      Meyer said. 

      Also, don't expect to make out the station's shape: All you will see is 
a
      bright, darting object. 

      But getting a quick glimpse of the largest multination engineering 
project
      ever undertaken will be worth it. You'll see space history in the 
making. 

      For more information on tracking the station, go to
      www.liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov. 
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