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  12/24-31: ISS Wave round-the-world wave

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Author Topic:   12/24-31: ISS Wave round-the-world wave
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-22-2010 12:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ISS Wave release
ISS Wave

A round-the-world wave to the humans aboard the International Space Station by their fellow humans on the Earth - choreographed by a grassroots Twitter campaign (@ISSwave).

For one week beginning Friday, 24 December, humans around the world will show their solidarity with their fellow humans in space (and on Earth) by waving at the International Space Station (ISS) as she passes overhead at 17,500 mph (28,000 kmph).

Participants, recruited through Twitter, are encouraged to share their waves — either alone or as part of an ISSwave tweetup (a physical gathering of twitterers, or tweeps) — by tweeting their zip/postal code and the hashtag "#ISSwave" along with photos and videos of their waves, thoughts, holiday wishes for the astronauts and cosmonauts, etc. Participants' waves will be registered in real-time at

Astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station may even film themselves waving back at ISSwave participants. At least two astronauts, including Ron Garan, have voiced their support for ISSwave in emails and tweets.

The idea for the wave emerged through a serendipitous twitter exchange among Twitter acquaintances and regular ISS watchers Lucy Rogers (@DrLucyRogers), Richard P. Grant (@rpg7twit) and Karen James (@kejames). They discovered that watching ISS passes is even more exciting when done together with other humans, whether they are standing right next to you or watching from afar. To know that you are not the only one looking up in awe at this spectacle of human ingenuity and cooperation speeding across the night sky creates a special connection between us.

"The first time I watched an ISS pass I was surprised by how much it affected me," said Karen James. "'We made that', I thought, 'there are humans up there!' All of my worries just seemed so tiny in the face of this symbol of human achievement and cooperation. I want to share that experience with other humans and also show my support to the ones living and working aboard the station."

"I'd always wave up at the ISS if I saw it pass overhead," says Lucy Rogers. "Someone laughed and said the astronauts wouldn't see me." So she asked on Twitter if anyone else waved - a lot of people did — and the communal ISS waving began. "When Karen moved to the USA she saw the ISS at a different time to us in Europe — which prompted the idea of a round-the-world wave," she says.

We see the ISS because it is lit by the Sun. Sunlight reflects off it's solar panels in the same way it glints off windows here on Earth. As the ISS travels round the world, the reflection can be seen in a broad sweep across the Earth. Due to the angles involved between the Sun, ISS and our location on Earth, sometimes we see bright, high passes and sometimes we can't see it at all. During the week 24th - 31st December, most places on the Earth should get a good view of it at some point.

The three formed the Twitter account @ISSwave to coordinate, promote and provide updates on the event. Their hope is that seasoned and novice ISS watchers alike will experience the startlingly emotional experience of an ISS pass, amplified by solidarity with thousands of others watching around the world.

Additionally, the team hopes the buzz around ISSwave will persuade those who have never watched an ISS pass to participate, marking an increase in awareness about the International Space Station and the existence of a community of space enthusiasts on Twitter ("spacetweeps").

The wave also celebrates the 10th anniversary of continuous human presence in space on 2 November 2010 and the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's flight into space — the first human spaceflight — on April 12th 2011.

  • The International Space Station has been orbiting the Earth over 15 times a day for more than ten years.

  • Although it is about 390 km (~240 miles) high, we can still see it from the Earth, thanks to the Sun reflecting off the solar arrays. The solar array wingspan is 240 feet (73 meters). This is longer than that of a Boeing 777 model at 212 feet (65 meters).

  • Currently on the ISS are Oleg Skripochka, Alexander Kaleri, Dmitry Kndratyev, Paolo Nespoli, Catherine Coleman and Scott Kelly (Commander).

  • There are various ways you can work out when it will be possible to see it from where you are, including Heavens Above, Twisst, NASA, ESA and Orbiting Frog.

  • As of 19 December, @ISSwave had over 600 followers from across all continents.


Posts: 961
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 12-22-2010 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Count me in. I have seen the ISS at least 200 times and each time is as exciting as the first.

I use the Heavens Above website for viewing opportunities.


Posts: 933
From: South Bend, IN United States of America
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 12-23-2010 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A couple of years ago, I told my boss about the times the ISS would be flying over and that he could go out and see it. I explained to him (whether he needed it or not) how to measure the distance above the horizon and directions of travel and the times and that they were posted online. And then when there would be exceptional viewing times locally, I would print out or write down the times, and details and make sure he had a copy.

He was thrilled.

He died this past May and I haven't gotten over it yet, probably never will, and can only imagine how his family misses him. At his funeral, his wife told me that he was absolutely thrilled when I told him about the flyovers and that he could go outside and see it.

So share the knowledge, and I imagine him saying to me, like I am sure I heard God say sometime ago about the stars, when I said out loud one night, "Wow, look at all those stars!", that Lewis is saying to me about the ISS... "you should see it from here!"


Posts: 961
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 12-24-2010 05:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just gave a wave to my friend at 6:01 p.m. EST who was racing beautifully across the sky from the South to the Southeast.

I also got credit for walking the dog.



Posts: 1275
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 12-25-2010 12:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very clear view from New York at 6:02 pm

New Member


posted 12-25-2010 02:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dwr2829   Click Here to Email dwr2829     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Had a great view on Christmas Eve in Kandahar City, Afghanistan....

CMSgt David W. Richards, USAF


Posts: 888
From: UK
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 12-25-2010 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice idea to wave at the crew of the International Space Station this holiday season. But I do so whenever I see it passing overhead.


Posts: 88
From: Utrecht,NL
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 12-27-2010 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BA002   Click Here to Email BA002     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it's a great idea, but unfortunately the weather over much of Europe has been rather poor the last few days. Still, I'll wave next time I see ISS pass overhead!


Posts: 211
From: Fayetteville, NC, USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 12-27-2010 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jeff   Click Here to Email Jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just flew over Fayetteville NC at 5:46 PM...Great view for just over 3 minutes.


Posts: 103
From: Virginia
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 12-27-2010 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My daughter and I had a spectacular view at 5:46pm tonight.

It was not quite dark; clear, cold sky with just a few wispy clouds overhead. It's only 25*F here so we ran back inside as soon as it disappeared.

It never gets old seeing the Space Station zooming overhead.

All times are CT (US)

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