We all know that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? But sometimes what’s outside can be just as important. At least that’s the case with the International Space Station (ISS) and the collection of external instruments soon to join those already operating in orbit. Moving at 17,500 miles per hour and operating around 240 miles above Earth, the space station circles at a 51.6 degree inclination north and south of the equator, offering a unique platform to mount research equipment. The space station’s orbit circles the globe 16 times daily to cover more ground at different times of day, while other satellites follow a sun-synchronous orbit-crossing the equator at the same local time every revolution. For this reason, data from station-mounted instruments can complement those gathered from similar satellite missions to fill in gaps for greater scientific returns.
A view of Earth’s atmosphere from the International Space Station during Expedition 23 illustrates the unique vantage point the orbiting laboratory provides for externally mounted instruments.
Image Credit: NASA
#iss #spacestation #nasa #exp41 #science