8 Ways to Track International Space Station from Earth

(Last Updated On: September 24, 2017)

8 ways to track ISS or international space station from earth

8 Ways to Track International Space Station from Earth



Apart from the stars and planets in the night sky, some sky watchers are interested in looking for artificial satellites. International space station from earth looks quite different from other shining objects and artificial satellites.

It is like a big bright star which moves quickly above the horizon from earth. The International space station from earth as the third brightest objects in the night sky.

International space station completes its one orbit of the earth every 90 minutes at a height of 400 km above sea level.

Astrophotographers can photograph the international space station from earth with a telescope mounted camera. It is visible for almost 90 percent of earth’s population.

There are a lot of websites and apps are available to track the international space station from earth.


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Tools to Find International Space station from Earth


1. We can track the International Space station from the earth by the website “spot the station”  of NASA. This website provides information to spot the international space station from anywhere.

2. The website’s map based feature helps to locate the station when it flies over your location around the globe and it also notifies you when the space station orbits near your location.

3. There are more than 7000 artificial objects revolving around the earth. So every casual sky watchers are guaranteed to see an artificial object in the night sky. An enormous number of mobile apps available to identify these objects.

4. Through these apps, we can spot ISS and other popular satellites from earth.
Through the app “ISS detector” we can spot both iridium flares and international space station from earth.

iridium flare from earth


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5. Iridium flares are one of the beautiful phenomena for Skywatchers in the night sky that can watch from earth.The iridium flares are bright and short events. Three flat antennas of Iridium communication satellite can reflect the sunlight to earth, It looks like a small burst of light for observers from earth.

6. The international space station was assembled from space by launching separate modules in different time. Some of the satellites tracking apps refer ISS as “Zarya”  because it was the name of the first module launched by Russia in 1988.

7. “Heavens above” is another app predict ISS and Iridium satellite passes, which also provides information about another satellite also.

8. Photographing earth and stars is the hobby of some crew members in the space station. Nasa providing that beautiful experience of observing earth from space to all people through their website.


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10 Interesting Facts About International Space Stations


  • International Space Station is a huge habitable artificial satellite approximately the size of a football field. Actually, ISS is the ninth space station made by the humans in the history which is followed by Russian Salyut, Almaz, and the US made Mir and Skylab.


  • ISS is joint project among the world nations. The main participating space agencies are USA(NASA), Russia(Roscosmos), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), European Space Agency(ESA) and Canadian Space Agency(CSA).


  • Till date, the money spent on the International Space station by the world countries is 150 billion US dollars.


  • The components of ISS was launched by Russian made Proton rockets and Soyuz rockets and the US made space shuttles. The space shuttle program ended in 2011 after that Soyuz rocket is the only transportation facility available for the astronauts working in the station.


  • The first module was launched in 1988 November 20th by USSR and total 14 pressurized modules launched till date. The ISS consists of the pressurized modules(Inhabitable Modiles) like Zarya, Unity, Zvezda, Destiny, Quest, Pirs and Poisk, Harmony, Tranquility, Columbus and unpressurized components like robotic arm and cargo cranes, Solar arrays etc.


  • After the space shuttle Columbia disaster the space shuttle programs were suspended for two years this made some uncertainty in the future of the ISS. This was cleared after the successful launch of Discovery in July 2005. None of the modules are permanently docked to the station.


  • The station is divided into United States Orbital Segment and Russian Orbital Segment. The space station consists of six crew members. In every three months, three of the six members were replaced and food and other goods were supplied to the station.


  • The station experiences sixteen sunrise and sunsets per day. The crew members are following coordinated universal time(UTC).


  • From 2000 November 2nd the space station continuously occupied by humans. During this period research in ISS achieved many things. Achievements in research of future space craft materials, New methods to fight against food poisoning, Human physiology research, Methods of delivering medicines to cancer cells, earth science etc. This list extends to hundreds of similar scientific experiments.


  • ISS is designed to be an orbiting laboratory where so many experiments are conducted. Those experiments require unusual conditions like Micro gravity, low earth orbit, space environment etc.