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Streaming Video from Space

"Image above: Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov (left) and Commander Mike Fincke conduct a spacewalk. Credit: NASA TV"

This Press announcement from NASA caught our attention yesterday:
HOUSTON -- Internet visitors can now see the Earth as never before -- live from the International Space Station via streaming video, seven days a week.

The streaming video views of Earth and the exterior structure of the station are from cameras mounted outside the laboratory complex, orbiting Earth at 17,500 miles an hour at an altitude of 220 miles. The video is transmitted to the ground -- and Web viewers -- primarily while the astronauts aboard the complex are asleep, usually from about 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. CST. When live feeds are not available, a map showing the current location and path of the station will be streamed from NASA's Mission Control in Houston.

The streaming video will include audio of communications between Mission Control and the astronauts, when available. When the space shuttle is docked to the station, the stream will include video and audio of those activities.
Check this web page to see where the space station is in real time (watch this page for a bit, and see how quickly the Station orbits the Earth!) , and this page to help you pinpoint the exact minute when the International Space Station will be visible from your city.

Click on the image to go to the tracker page

There are more videos on NASA's YouTube Channel.

Background information: "The International Space Station, a unique partnership between the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe. Construction began in 1998 and will be completed in 2010. Eighteen crews have lived aboard the orbiting complex since 2000, including the current crew of three. Station residents have conducted important scientific experiments and gathered data to help assist future missions to the moon and Mars." (link)