The space station, or the ISS, has been a reality for some time now, though, even if you haven't seen it flying over Greater Alexandria.
But you can. And here's how to spot it: NASA has started a Spot the Station program, which you can sign up for to be notified when the ISS will be visible over Greater Alexandria or whatever location you choose.
You can receive alerts via email or a text message to your phone. Visit the Spot the Station website here to sign up, and view a list of upcoming sighting opportunities.
The space station should be of particular interest in our area, where other shows in the sky, such as meteor showers, are often bleached out by so many city lights.
But the ISS is so bright, it can even been seen from the center of a city. Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, it disappears.
- Video of the International Space Station as seen on Earth.
- And video of the International Space Station looking down on us.
So far, more than half a million people have signed up to receive alerts from NASA’s Spot the Station program, according to Earthsky.org.
Some background, from Earthsky.org:
"The first module of the ISS was launched into space in 1998 and the initial construction of the station took about two years to complete. Human occupation of the station began on November 2, 2000. Since that time, the ISS has been continuously occupied and over 214 people have visited to date. The ISS serves as both an orbiting laboratory and a port for international spacecraft. The primary partnering countries involved in operating the ISS include the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia.
"The ISS orbits at approximately 220 miles above the Earth and it travels at an average speed of 27,724 kilometers (17,227 miles) per hour. The ISS makes multiple orbits around the Earth every day. So far, the ISS has traveled more than 1.5 billion miles through space."