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Over 130 space fans gathered at Stardome this weekend (15 March), braving the weather to watch a live stream from the International Space Station. SKY and The National Geographic Channel presented this special event at Stardome where viewers got a glimpse of life in the International Space Station (ISS), hundreds of kilometres above earth.
Unprecedented access was granted to the high-tech, space station which orbits the earth every 90 minutes, so viewers were able to take a round the world trip without leaving their seats.
Astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata live and work in the ISS and gave a guided tour through the space station during the two-hour television event, showing how they live for months in microgravity. Astronaut Mike Massimo, who has completed two Space Shuttle missions to service the Hubble telescope acted as the earth correspondent, reporting live from Houston.
The space team demonstrated how they wash their hair, where they sleep (sleeping bags tethered to the wall), what happens on cleaning day and how the space menu is prepared and delivered. The crowd also learnt about the not-so reliable toilet and how repairs are made by the astronauts themselves.
David Britten, Astronomy Educator at Stardome says “The ISS passed through Auckland skies on the day of the event. However, in daytime skies it isn’t visible without specialised optical systems – even on cloudless days. The best naked eye views from Auckland are not till the next series of favourable local evening passes starting on 23rd March. Details of visible passes of the ISS over local New Zealand skies are available at http://www.stardome.org.nz/astronomy/resources/iss-satellites/.