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ISS Completes 100,000th Orbit of Earth (phys.org) 103

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: The International Space Station, the space laboratory that showcases cooperation between Russia and the United States, on Monday orbited Earth for the 100,000th time, Russian mission control said. Traveling at an altitude of about 250 miles (400 kilometers) and a speed of about 17,500 miles (28,000 kilometers) per hour, the space station circles the Earth once every 90 minutes. The ISS has now traveled 2.6 billion miles "or about the distance of 10 round trips to Mars," NASA said on the station's official Twitter feed. From two modules, it has grown to 15 modules, occupying a space the size of a football pitch and represents around $100 billion in investment. "Such a long lifespan of the ISS proves that mankind has the necessary technologies for constant presence in orbit, that we have the potential for further space exploration," said Matyushin.
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ISS Completes 100,000th Orbit of Earth

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  • by sid crimson ( 46823 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @10:36PM (#52125529)

    I get what they mean... but after reaching orbit, the ISS hasn't travelled any farther in orbit than I've travelled on my treadmill.

    • by Xtifr ( 1323 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @11:20PM (#52125647) Homepage

      the ISS hasn't travelled any farther in orbit than I've travelled on my treadmill.

      Do you imagine that it's in geosynchronous orbit? Like some comms satellites are? I assure you, it's not. I've looked up. I've seen it go by. From where I sit, it is most definitely traveling.

      Do you mean it goes around the Earth and ends up back where it started? That's true of most travelers. The ends-up-back-where-they-started bit, at least. Fewer will actually go all the way around the world to achieve that, but I don't think anyone would accept a claim that Phileas Fogg [wikipedia.org] never traveled anywhere.

      Do you mean it's not traveling because it's falling? I'm sorry, but if you're up high enough and moving fast enough to fall all the way around the world, I think you're traveling. If I'm riding a bicycle downhill, I may essentially be falling, and not need to pedal at all, but I think most people would consider me to be traveling.)

      • by quenda ( 644621 )

        Do you mean it goes around the Earth and ends up back where it started? That's true of most travelers.

        Most travellers don't just walk to the nearest park and spend a year walking laps of it. That's not travel.
        The ISS is effectively parked. (parked in an awesome spot.) Sure it is moving relative to the centre of the earth, but so is the car on blocks. 24 hour circuit vs 90 minutes.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          > Most travellers don't just walk to the nearest park and spend a year walking laps of it. That's not travel.

          I come home after every vacation. I had no idea that I wasn't really traveling anywhere.

        • Most travellers don't just walk to the nearest park and spend a year walking laps of it. That's not travel.

          What park are you going to that is traveling 4.6 miles per second 300 miles above the Earth's surface? The ISS is a vehicle, not a park. If you want an analogy it's like taking a rocket to a jet that is already flying around the globe, making an in-flight transfer and then spending several months in the plane while it flies around the world. Just because you aren't standing on terra-firma doesn't mean it isn't traveling.

          The ISS is effectively parked. (parked in an awesome spot.) Sure it is moving relative to the centre of the earth, but so is the car on blocks. 24 hour circuit vs 90 minutes.

          The ISS is moving relative to every part of the earth at a ludicrous velocity. Your

          • Well, the park that I go to is traveling about 124 miles per second 25,000 light years above the center of the galaxy.

            It sort of depends on your point of view. To use a car analogy, the vehicles racing at the Indianapolis 500 travel 500 miles, even if they end up back at the same point they started at.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Parked? It's a good way to inform kids about both freefall and how there is friction in low earth orbit. It drops down frequently and needs a boost up frequently. Surely you are old enough to remember shuttle launches if not Apollo so should know better.
        • by Xtifr ( 1323 )

          Most travellers don't just walk to the nearest park and spend a year walking laps of it. That's not travel.

          It's not traveling very far, but it's certainly traveling around the perimeter of the park. Given enough time, it would certainly add up to many miles of travel. Heck, when I went to get coffee recently, I traveled to the kitchen. Hardly a voyage I'm going to brag about to my friends, but it was still travel. And the ISS isn't going around the park; it's going all the way around the world. That's travel by pretty much any definition.

          Sure it is moving relative to the centre of the earth

          It's not just moving relative to the center of the Earth. It's moving relat

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        When my dog runs around in circles, people say he's fast, that he's moving, but nobody has yet indicated that he's "traveled" anywhere.
        • When I fly to other countries and return home, people have said I have traveled, even if I ended up inches from where I started.

          • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
            If you take a long flight, and weather closes the remote airport, and you land at your takeoff airport, did you "travel" anywhere?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @12:30AM (#52125849)

      It is still impressive. Just a few years ago, all ISS controlled was a few towns in northern Iraq and Syria, and now they are putting satellites in orbit.
       

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Unfortunately, their space station is about to explode as soon as it goes over a civilian population.

    • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @12:36AM (#52125875) Homepage

      Congratulations on your 2.6th billion mile of treadmill. Perhaps soon you will be slim enough to make it out of the basement door and up the stairs?

  • >> size of a football pitch

    So...about 40 yards then? I think I saw a quarterback throw that far once.
    • by Fwipp ( 1473271 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @10:54PM (#52125597)

      Apparently a "football pitch" is foreign for "soccer field."

      • Apparently a "football pitch" is foreign for "soccer field."

        On the other hand... More people probably play Soccer all around the world than (American) Football - the latter, ironically, having little foot and ball interaction.

        • In olden days, any sport not played on horseback was called a foot sport, so it doesn't need much foot and ball contact, just be played on foot instead of horse.

      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        "football pitch" is foreign for "soccer field."

        You have that backwards.

      • You are correct. A 'pitch' is COMMONLY known as a field. Readers paying attention would see that this news is from a Russian source. As we all know, American football' happens only in the USA. Everywhere else 'football' is soccer, including in Russia. And, by the way, soccer is FAR more popular than 'American football'. So, then, those not getting the 'football pitch' reference are in a quite small minority; perhaps some of whom are also likely narcissistic and arrogant. Yet, I digress from here!
  • Track it here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @11:18PM (#52125639)

    If you want to check out the current location, this website is pretty good...

    http://www.isstracker.com/ [isstracker.com]

    • Re:Track it here (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clovis ( 4684 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @01:03AM (#52125931)

      NASA will send you a txt message on the days that the ISS will be passing overhead at dawn or dusk.
      It's way cool to actually see it going over and to think about the people up there.
      https://spotthestation.nasa.go... [nasa.gov]

      But this is my favorite. It's downward looking webcams from the ISS.

      http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/HDEV/ [nasa.gov]

      • If you like seeing this bright spot flying through the sky, you'll love seeing the whole actual ISS structure (basically like this : H) through a telescope.
        I wasn't sure it would be possible, but I tried it with my small dobsonian, and saw it for a few seconds. Tracking is a bit of a PITA, so it helps a lot to have someone else roughly track it via the finder scope, while you adjust focus and keep the ISS exactly in the middle of the eyepiece.
        It's a wonderful experience, even for non-geeks. My family and ne

        • Thank you for the suggestion. Do you find that Dobsonian telescopes are easy for beginners to figure out? I am interested in this type of stuff, but by no means an expert in the field.

          • It's probably the most beginner-friendly telescope there is.
            They're cheap, they're super-easy to aim (like a cannon, basically), you don't have to align it to the North Star, you don't have to lock/unlock screws while moving.
            The mirror is big enough to see all the planets, double-stars and some galaxies/clusters/nebulaes, even in light-polluted areas. I could look at Jupiter/Moon/Saturn/ISS every night and not get tired of it. It's a wonderful experience to see the great red storm or Io's shadow on Jupiter.

  • Or put another way (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "The ISS has now travelled 2.6 billion miles 'or about the distance of 10 round trips to Mars' "

    Or for comparison, a single one-way trip to Neptune. Or 0.01016% of the way to Alpha Centauri.

    • Or 1.3849x10^48 libraries-of-congress...
    • But Mars is the next place we want to travel too. If only we can get enough public interest in it. But due to having no leadership in the world and no good alternative in the pipeline I expect we will just say on earth and in low orbit until that asteroid hits.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Scientists theorize the ISS made 100,000 orbits faster than expected due to an unusually high gravitational pull around the USA midwest. In other news, fast food chains are reporting amazing sales of the 1.5 pound cheezeburger in the midwest....

  • Money (Score:4, Funny)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @12:49AM (#52125901) Homepage

    If we hadn't spent so much money on pointless wars we'd be on our way to the next solar system by now.

    • If we hadn't spent so much money on pointless wars ...

      Some people would be richer, some others would be poorer, but nothing big would have changed Space wise.

      • All depends.

        If enough of those who got Richer were interested, then it might have happened faster. No guarantees though.

        Take a look at the major European colonial efforts. Most were funded by either the Crown or rich Merchant conglomerates.

        Now look at our current space efforts that are either funded by governments, and in the case of private sector, similar Rich people who's itch it scratches.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      If we hadn't spent so much money on pointless wars we'd be on our way to the next solar system by now.

      Without the potential of rockets to be missiles, I doubt we'd have even landed on the moon. The Apollo program was riding on a long and bloody history from the Nazi V1/V2 missiles hitting London during WWII to the threat of nuclear armageddon with ICBMs, all funded by the military. And NASA was a way to continue funneling money into missiles after the Cuban missile crisis while nominally being for civilian purposes. Anyone who think JFK just wanted to put a man on the moon because it's hard the way people c

  • it's done the equivalent of 10 trips to Mars since 1998, so why not send it to mars ? People have proven they can live in it for years at a time, it can obviously take a shove from a rocket. Just fuel up a few rockets and have them meet it along the way with provisions and an extra nudge to move it along.
    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      Because it's a dang more complicated to get each part of ISS separately to a speed of 8 km/s (orbital velocity), than the whole ISS mounted together to a speed of 11.2 km/s (escape velocity) - and that's only to get the ISS out of the gravity field of the Earth. To actually get it to Mars, you need a speed of 34.1 km/s. Imagine the size of the boosters necessary! (And imagine the effort to get them including the fuel up to the ISS orbit).
      • you only need big-ass boosters to blast yourself off the ground and into orbit. Once in orbit you can use little thrusters, no problem. Time is not your enemy anymore, even small acceleration will get you anywhere in the solar system. Assuming of course that you can keep the small acceleration going for a long time (which would require large amounts of fuel)

        • you only need big-ass boosters to blast yourself off the ground and into orbit. Once in orbit you can use little thrusters, no problem. Time is not your enemy anymore, even small acceleration will get you anywhere in the solar system...

          Just FYI, we still measure anything outside of our own solar system in light years .

          It is because of time that humans cannot even fathom real space travel, and even moving at half the speed of light would still take years to reach habitable planets. That's assuming those humans still have their sanity when they arrive.

          Believe me, time is still our enemy.

          • That's assuming those humans still have their sanity when they arrive.

            Believe me, time is still our enemy.

            That's assuming the had it when they left.

            • That's assuming those humans still have their sanity when they arrive.

              Believe me, time is still our enemy.

              That's assuming the had it when they left.

              Given the amount of volunteers that came forth to jump on a rocket for a one-way expedition to Mars, it appears the question of sanity more centers around the concept of staying on this rock.

              just sayin'...

              • Given the amount of volunteers that came forth to jump on a rocket for a one-way expedition to Mars, it appears the question of sanity more centers around the concept of staying on this rock.

                just sayin'...

                Sanity, defined as the deep abiding far of the unknown, and wish fir stasis, and the desire to live as long as possible by being as safe as possible is way overrated. But it is the norm for many.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Outside of the protection of Earth's magnetic fields, everyone on-board would get killed by the radiation.

      And you say years at a time. No one has lived in space for 2 years straight (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spaceflight_records). The record for the ISS is only 340.4 days (And 437.7 for Mir).

      Also, there is the whole energy problem. Ex: just because you go around earth once a day doesn't mean you could get to the moon easily. Getting back would also be much harder since you have to ship the retur

    • by geantvert ( 996616 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @06:16AM (#52126573)

      This XKCD picture explains it all in a very intuitive way: https://xkcd.com/681/ [xkcd.com]

      The ISS is on the "low earth orbit" line in the detailed view of the Earth well (on the right).

      Using the same analogy, image that you are at the bottom a 100m deep well. It is should be easy for you to walk in circles for 1000m (so horizontally). However, to exit the well you have to GO UP for 100m. That's is a lot more difficult.
       

  • I first read it as "ISIS Completes 100,000th Orbit of Earth". I was thinking, "well that's a good place for them."

    • Especially since ISIS articles show up here more than ISS articles. Maybe we just have lysdexia. Funny anyways though!!!
  • I think that EU and Japan space agencies have also made non-negligible contributions.
  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @04:34AM (#52126395) Homepage

    The International Space Station, the space laboratory that showcases cooperation between Russia and the United States

    and Europe and Canada and Japan...

  • The whole describing-distance-traveled-in-round-trips-to-mars strategy gets much more pathetic when you realize that all that glorious travel is occurring in an orbit so low it barely clears the atmosphere; rather than actually going anywhere interesting.
    br. If we just want to mash numbers together; it's be about as meaningful to add up the distance covered by American commuters over the last decade and describe that in terms of the most appropriate interplanetary voyage.
    • The whole describing-distance-traveled-in-round-trips-to-mars strategy gets much more pathetic when you realize that all that glorious travel is occurring in an orbit so low it barely clears the atmosphere; rather than actually going anywhere interesting.

      Amazing the things that piss people off. So do you get as pissed when the number of plastic bottles used in a year covers some number of times around the earth? Or the old New York to San Diego length comparisons of some thing or another?

      It's merely putting things in perspective.

      Do you get as spun up about the time dilation effects on the people inside the ISS?

  • yet again arbitrarily celebrating base 10, i never get this.
  • I don't see why this is news. It's not like it's a nice round number or anything, and even if it was it's no more or less significant than any other lap.

  • to a winning game of "graviton" on CERL's PLATO IV novanet system. Awe crap... now I need to renew my avatar addiction.

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