How can a little tech gadget make you feel closer to the only 6 human beings in space (onboard the International Space Station)?
Over nearly 15 years, the ISS has been conducting breakthrough research in space with a continuous human presence "off" our planet. However, the public's knowledge of the ISS is limited. Ask any passer-by and you may chance on someone who knows what the ISS it, why it's up there and even that they can and have seen it in their skies. More typically, though, they may have heard of it, but have no idea of its purpose, longevity, value, or that there are humans up there.
The ISS-Above HD is a little tech gadget that you plug in to your TV that allows the public to see live views of the Earth from the ISS as it passes overhead. In itself an awe inspiring sight, the ISS-Above also tells you which area of the Earth you are looking at and adds information about the crew onboard and quantitative data about the ISS location, distance from you and when/where it will next pass by. In an educational context, the ISS-Above can stimulate study of geography, gravity, orbital mechanics, astronomy, space experiments and much more.
This presentation is a story from Liam Kennedy, past president of the OCA, and how an idea he had to inspire his own grandchildren to be interested in human spaceflight has created an unexpected result with thousands of people around the world. It's also the story about how creating this has given Liam the opportunity to connect with many NASA personnel at Johnson Space Center Houston who support operations on the ISS – including Astronaut Scott Kelly (now on board the ISS for the One Year Mission).
Liam Kennedy is CEO of ImageBEAM and inventor of the ISS-Above, it's software that runs on a Raspberry Pi that presents information about the ISS orbit and when the ISS will be nearby and even visible where you are. Throughout a career in programming and live video streaming/video production, Liam has been passionate about astronomy and the perspective it gives humankind on our place in the Universe and how beautiful and fragile our Earth is. Previously President of the Orange County Astronomers, a past Griffith Observatory Planetarium Lecturer and a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, today Liam focuses on bringing the ISS into people's daily lives, through public outreach, deployment of the ISS-Above into homes, schools and public spaces and spearheading projects to enhance our view of space exploration and of ourselves.
"What's Up?" in this month will be presented by Jim Benet