Space station photo attempts to convey satellite’s high speed

Filed in Technology by on June 14, 2021

Since landing aboard the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this year, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet has taken a lot of images of Earth and beyond.

Some of his photographs have been breathtaking, but now the French astronaut is working on a new project that involves collecting shots that seek to portray the space station’s fast speed as it orbits Earth.

The ISS travels at a speed of around 28,000 kph (17,400 mph) in orbit. Or, to put it another way, 7.6 kilometers per second (4.8 miles per second).

Pesquet recently shared the first image from his new project (seen above and below). It took a 30-second exposure to capture a portion of the space station while Earth and stars streaked through the frame.

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“This is a shot from some test runs of a photo method I’ve been playing around with. It gives you an idea of how fast we travel (28 800 km/h!). This image of Earth at night is a 30-second exposure. You may see stars and city lights in the trails. “There will be more!”

The International Space Station (ISS) is about 400 kilometers (250 miles) above Earth’s surface and orbits our globe every 90 minutes or so. This means that in a 24-hour period, the station orbits Earth 16 times.

Consider joining up for NASA’s notification system, which will notify you when the space station passes over your town, to get a better sense of how swiftly the ISS moves across space. On a clear night or early morning, sunlight bouncing off the station’s solar arrays allows you to see the ISS moving across the sky at incredible speed with the naked eye.

Despite the incredible speed, astronauts on the space station haven’t noticed anything remarkable throughout their time there.

In the coming months, we hope to see more of Pesquet’s high-speed photography. Meanwhile, for additional insight on life aboard the space station, watch these brief video presentations from various astronauts throughout the years, which cover everything from making coffee to using a space toilet.

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