Watching the space station in twilight last week – Bob King/News Tribune
The Space Shuttle Discovery will take off this afternoon from Florida to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) on a two week long mission to install components of the Japanese Kibo scientific laboratory and its robotic arm system. This will be the 123rd shuttle flight — the first was launched in 1981.
We’ll have a Minnesotan on board Discovery’s seven-person crew. She’s 38-year-old mission specialist Karen Nyberg (at right), who hails from the small town of Vining, Minn. Her job will be to operate all three of the robotic arms on the station during her stay. Nyberg wanted to be an astronaut from the time she was in elementary school.
In her words: "Well, I decided when I was a little kid that I wanted to be an astronaut and, honestly, I can’t pinpoint an event or a person or anything that made me decide that. I just decided that that’s what I wanted to do and I kind of kept that with me." You can read more about Karen, including her passion for quilt making and painting, in this NASA interview.
The space station (ISS) continues to pass over our region during evening hours through June 7. As the Shuttle nears the ISS, I’ll update the blog with times when you can see both craft chasing each other like cat and mouse in the sky. For now, here are a couple times to watch for the station: ** UPDATE: Times now listed for the shuttle below.
* Tonight starting at 10:15 p.m. The space station will rise in the W-NW and follow an arc to the east, passing four outstretched fists above the horizon. It will do it again at 11:50 p.m. The space shuttle will follow the same path seven minutes later, appearing at 10:22 p.m. and 11:57 p.m.
* Tomorrow night June 1 starting at 10:37 p.m. (same time for the space shuttle, too.) The station will rise in the W-NW and arc over to the E-SE, passing nearly overhead. This will be an exceptionally bright pass!