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Can I See the Shuttle from the Ground?

Sightings List | Orbital Elements

Depending on your location on the Earth's surface, the spacecraft's position in orbit and the time of day, you may be able to see the Shuttle, as it orbits above the planet. A spacecraft will be seen as a white pinpoint of light moving slowly across the sky.

For each shuttle flight, the Flight Dynamics Officers in NASA's Mission Control Center use sophisticated computer software to predict when and where the shuttle will be visible by people on the ground. To view the Shuttle, first find the city closest to you on the Shuttle Sighting List. (You can look for a particular city name using your Web browser's search utility.) The left column is the local date, the next column to the right is the local time. The third column gives the duration, or the length of time in minutes the spacecraft is expected to be visible, assuming a clear sky. The fourth column gives the maximum elevation the vehicle will achieve above the horizon (90 degrees is directly overhead). The fifth column tells the direction and elevation at which the spacecraft will become visible initially. The sixth column gives the direction and elevation at which the spacecraft will disappear from view.

For best results, observers should look in the direction and at the elevation shown in the appearing column at the time listed.

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