How Things Work: Space Station Steering

How do you maneuver a million-pound spacecraft?


Night View

(Matt Hale)

On Earth, long-exposure photographs of the night sky show how our planet rotates on its axis. NASA astronaut Don Pettit, who returned in June from a six month stay aboard the International Space Station, decided to play with this idea from low Earth orbit. Instead of showing Earth's rotation, his photographs show the station's movement on its own axis some 200 miles up. To keep the same side always facing Earth, the station rotates one full turn every orbit, just like the moon.

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