Look . . . up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's the International Space Station tonight
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PDN photographer Keith Thorpe took this photo of a recent pass by the International Space Station. He snapped it from the front lawn of the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles. Exposure was 30 seconds.
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International Space Station

By Peninsula Daily News staff

IT'S BACK AGAIN . . . and hopefully (clouds permitting) you can see the International Space Station tonight.

A bright speck of light that will move quickly across the sky, the ISS will zoom over the North Olympic Peninsula (and most Puget Sound locations, from Seattle north) for 3 minutes beginning at 10:02 p.m.

It will cross low from the west to the south-south west at a maximum height of 16 degrees.

For more news about the space station, and to sign up for alerts on when the station will next be in our Peninsula skies — it will appear again Thursday and Saturday evenings as it finishes up a series of passes over our region this month — click on: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html#.U-ma7vbPb-M

Because the space station's operations run so smoothly, you almost never hear about the ISS. READ MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sten-odenwald/usrussian-relations-and-t_b_5054431.html

But it was in the news earlier this week as astronauts did a spacewalk outside the ISS to launch a 2-pound satellite.

Here's the Associated Press story:

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacewalking astronauts launched a tiny Peruvian research satellite Monday, setting it loose on a mission to observe Earth.

Russian Oleg Artemiev cast the 4-inch box off with his gloved right hand as the International Space Station sailed 260 miles above the cloud-flecked planet.

The nanosatellite gently tumbled as it cleared the vicinity of the orbiting complex, precisely as planned.

"One, two, three," someone called out in Russian as Artemiev let go of the satellite.

Cameras watched as the nanosatellite — named Chasqui after the Inca messengers who were fleet of foot — increased its distance and grew smaller. Artemiev's Russian spacewalking partner, Alexander

Skvortsov, tried to keep his helmet camera aimed at the satellite as it floated away.

The satellite — barely 2 pounds — holds instruments to measure temperature and pressure, and cameras that will photograph Earth.

It's a technological learning experience for the National University of Engineering in Lima. A Russian cargo ship delivered the device earlier this year.

Less than a half-hour into the spacewalk, the satellite was on its way, flying freely.

With that completed, Artemiev and Skvortsov set about installing fresh science experiments outside the Russian portion of the space station and retrieving old ones.

"Be careful," Russian Mission Control outside Moscow warned as the astronauts made their way to their next work site. They also collected samples from a window of the main Russian living compartment; engineers want to check for any engine residue from visiting spacecraft.

The spacewalkers wrapped up their work early. Flight controllers thanked them for their five-hour effort.

The two conducted a spacewalk in June, a few months after moving into the space station. Four other men live there: another Russian, two Americans and one German.

U.S. spacewalks, meanwhile, remain on hold.

NASA hoped to resume them this month after a yearlong investigation but delayed the activity until fall to get fresh spacesuit batteries on board.

The SpaceX company will deliver the batteries on a Dragon supply ship next month. Engineers are concerned about the fuses of the on-board batteries.

Before the battery issue, NASA was stymied by a spacesuit problem that nearly cost an Italian astronaut his life last summer.

Luca Parmitano's helmet flooded with water from the suit's cooling system, and he barely made it back inside. The investigation into that incident is now complete, with safety improvements made to the U.S. spacesuits.

Last modified: August 20. 2014 11:54PM
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