Journey to the stars as you explore the International Space Station on Google Street View
You no longer have to go through the gruelling training of becoming an astronaut to venture onboard the International Space Station – Google has added the live-in satellite to Street View.
Using six months’ worth of footage, captured by European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet during his time on the ISS, Google has created a fascinating tour of the station’s 15 modules from the Columbus Research Laboratory, where astronauts take part in experiments in life sciences, materials sciences and fluid physics, to the instantly recognisable Cupola Observational Module. This small window allows astronauts to look down on Earth and is used to monitor operations outside the ISS during spacewalks or resupply missions.
This module is often where astronauts take selfies, tweet from and where Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield would often perform songs on his guitar. Hadfield has an entire blog full of images taken while in the Cupola. The Street View collection was launched to mark the 48th anniversary of the first successful moon landing and each of the modules are available in 360-degrees.
As you explore the station, annotations highlighting key areas of life onboard – such as where astronauts eat and how they stay fit – give an even greater insight into what it’s like to live in orbit.
Pesquet spent six months on the ISS as a flight engineer. He returned to Earth last month. “In the six months I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space,” Pesquet explained. ” There are a lot of obstacles up there, and we had limited time to capture the imagery, so we had to be confident that our approach would work. Oh, and there’s that whole zero gravity thing.”
The ISS launched in November 2008 and has been occupied for the past 16 years. The station makes more than 15 orbits each 24 hours and sits at an altitude of around 250 miles. It is made up of 15 connected modules that travel at a staggering 17,227 mph as they travel around Earth. The ISS acts as a base for space exploration for possible future missions to the moon, Mars and asteroids, and is used to collect data on the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land surface.
Namely, it can be used to carry out experiments not possible on Earth, such as how to grow plants in microgravity and how space travel and living impacts the human body. It can also give advanced warning of weather changes and monitor the impact climate change is having on our planet. It can even be used as a base to track plastic in oceans.