Next solar array for the International Space Station going up next month

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The missions to install solar arrays to the ISS are always the ones I look forward to the most, for a very simple reason:

Element Launch date Length
Columbus Laboratory February 7, 2008 7 4.5 12,800
Dextre Robotic Hand and Japanese Logistics Module (ELM-PS) March 11, 2008 3.9 (ELM-PS) 4.4 (ELM-PS) 4,200 (ELM-PS)
Japanese Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and JEM Robotic Arm (JEM-RMS) May 31, 2008 11.2 (JEM-PM) 4.4 (JEM-PM) 15,900 (JEM-PM)
S6 Truss - Solar Array Scheduled for February 12, 2009 73.2 10.7 15,900

Notice a difference between the one on the bottom (to be installed next month) and the other three for comparison? That's right, the solar arrays are huge in comparison to the other parts, which means that they increase the magnitude of the ISS by that much more than the other parts.

Magnitude for the ISS is important because even as of 2006 it was about as bright as Venus, and has only grown since then. This is important because an object as bright as the ISS is a constant reminder (i.e. free advertising) that we're a spacefaring species, and especially so now that it can be seen even in cities, where now about 50% of the world population lives.

The brightest time of all of course is just after a new part has been installed and the Space Shuttle is still attached, so check to see when the ISS will be flying over your city during this mission.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP