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21 February 2024

Space station to pass over UAE on Saturday

International Space Station. (GETTY)


The UAE sky will witness on Saturday the passage of the 51-metre long and 109-metre wide International Space Station (ISS), an internationally developed research facility, through the sun disk.

Mohammed Awda, Chairman of the Islamic Crescents' Observation Project (ICOP), said the Emirates Astronomical Society (EAS), Dubai Astronomy Group, ICOP, and UAE Mobile Astronomical Observatory will jointly stage an observatory deck near the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi for watching the 20-metre high space ship crossing the UAE air space on Saturday at about 11.42. am.

The sky show will last for 0.6 seconds and members of the public can also watch it through a large display screen.

The ISS serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in biology, chemistry, medicine, physiology and physics, as well as astronomical and meteorological observations.

The station, whose cost has been estimated at $100 billion over 30 years, provides a unique environment for the testing of the spacecraft systems that will be required for missions to the Moon and Mars.The ISS is operated by Expedition crews of six astronauts and cosmonauts, with the station programme maintaining an uninterrupted human presence in space.

Operated as a joint project between the five participant space agencies, the station's sections are controlled by mission control centres on the ground operated by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Because of the size of the ISS (about that of an American football field) and the large reflective area offered by its solar panels, ground based observation of the station is possible with the naked eye if the observer is in the right location at the right time. In many cases, the station is one of the brightest naked-eye objects in the sky, although it is visible only for periods ranging from two to five minutes.