It will be visible for six minutes.
In a unique coincidence, the International Space Station will be flying over the UAE tomorrow (October 12) around the same time UAE astronaut Hazzaa AlMansoori will be landing back in the country after his successful mission on the station.
The International Space Station (ISS) is expected to fly over Abu Dhabi at 6.42pm, just 13 minutes before AlMansoori’s plane will touch down in the Capital.
AlMansoori is returning to his home country for the first time since his historic mission, in which he spent eight days on the ISS. The former military fighter jet pilot launched on September 25 and landed back on earth on October 3, becoming the first Emirati in space and the first Arab on the ISS.
“Tomorrow, the ISS flies over Abu Dhabi and Dubai and you’ll be able to see it from the ground,” Michael Flachbart, who works at the space camp leader at UAE’s Compass International, told Khaleej Times.
“In Abu Dhabi, it’ll be at 6.42PM and in Dubai, it’ll be a minute later. People should be looking in the sky in the northwest. It’ll fly over typically overhead, which doesn’t often happen as it’ll be flying right over us. Then, it’ll move to the southeast.”
Flachbart said the ISS will be visible for six minutes, which might be the longest duration ever in the UAE. At first, it will appear faint on the horizon and then it’ll be moving faster when it’s overhead and will appear clear and bright.
“Most people don’t realise that you can go in the dark and see the ISS fly over. They think it’s too small and dark, but you can see it. There’s six people living and working in there now,” added Flachbart, who previously worked for the US Space and Rocket Centre for over 30 years.
The ISS orbits earth 16 times a day, meaning the crew onboard experience 16 sunrise and sunsets. AlMansoori first arrived on the ISS a little after midnight on September 26. He carried out several scientific experiments onboard, did the first live Arabic-language tour of the station, wore the UAE national attire, conducted live sessions and put up the UAE flag.