The International Space Station will be visible over Vancouver tonight

As Vancouver’s skies cloud once again due to bushfire smoke creeping in from the United States, residents must realize that – weather and conditions permitting – the International Space Station (ISS) will be in range over the city tonight.

According to Spot the Station (STS), the ISS will be visible just before 8 PM and for a minute before 9 PM.

Station spot

According to STS, the space station is the only microgravity laboratory on Earth.

“This platform the size of a football field hosts a large number of scientific and technological experiments that are constantly being conducted by crew members, or are automated,” says STS. “The space station is a test of technology and allows us to study the effects of long-range spaceflight on humans, which supports NASA’s mission to propel the human presence further into space.”

For those who wonder what exactly to look for, STS states that the International Space Station “appears to be an extremely bright plane or star moving across the sky, except that it does not contain flashing lights or change direction.”

It will also move much faster than a regular plane; Aircraft generally fly at about 600 miles (965 km) per hour, while the space station fly at 17,500 miles (28,000 km) per hour. At this rate, the International Space Station orbits Earth every 90 minutes, giving the crew 16 Sunrise and Sunset each day.

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