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Where is the International Space Station?

The International Space Station is closer than you might think ... it circles the Earth only 400 km above us!

In May it will take ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and his two crewmates less than six hours to reach the Station in their Soyuz spacecraft. It will take them even less time to return to Earth six months later, when they land in Kazachstan around three hours after departure.

The Station circles the Earth at 28 800 km/h, taking only 90 minutes to do its complete circle. It can be seen and photographed without special equipment as it passes overhead. As it moves so fast, the hard part is to know when and where to look. That’s why we have ESA’s Tracker. Here you can check to see where the Station is at any time.

Once you know where the Space Station will be, it is best to wait for dawn or dusk. The Space Station looks like a very bright star or aircraft gliding through the sky. Use a tripod and set the shutter speed to a long exposure of up to a minute. The Station will always arrive from the west and will show up as a white streak in the photograph.

Go check it out, and have fun!

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