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Shuttle and International Space Station on Target to Fly Overhead Sonoma County
Posted by jake bayless at Mar 16, 2009 06:35 PM
Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station will be brightly visible high above Sonoma County and Santa Rosa on Tuesday evening. Here is the information you need to know to plan your viewing party! In fact, it looks like Tuesday's weather will cooperate as well.
If the forces of nature align with the mighty power of the American Space Shuttle Discovery and the International Space Station, Sonoma County residents will be in for a treat on Tuesday evening (Mar. 17th) with a rare dual flyby sighting opportunity. The weather outlook is calling for patchy fog - so this might well be one sighting opportunity worth seeking higher ground for!
The Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-119) launched Sunday evening from Florida, and is currently in an earth orbit slightly ahead of, and slower than the ISS. Over the course of the next 2 days, the ISS will be coasting towards the easily maneuverable shuttle. As the ISS nears the Shuttle Discovery, the shuttle will fire its rockets to speed up their orbit and match the groundspeed of ISS in preparation for a Tuesday afternoon docking.
As both orbit ~350 kilometers above the earth, they circumnavigate the earth every 89 minutes. The Space Station and the mated Shuttle Discovery will be easily visible to the naked eye between 7:42 and 7:49pm. Additional details are available from the ISS Ground Track Map.
Find a place with a good view of the sky to the Southwest, and watch as both earthly objects pass overhead at nearly 17,000 miles per hour!