A rare ‘space chase’ should be visible in the skies over Ireland during the next couple of nights when the brilliant International Space Station blazes across Irish skies and is followed by a re-supply craft called Dragon.
Astronomy Ireland says it expects ISS to pass over at 9:26pm with the fainter Dragon spacecraft to be launched from Florida at 9:33pm following 18 minutes later at 9:51pm.
The two craft should be much closer tomorrow when they will be side by side in the sky at 10:08pm in an amazing sight plainly visible to the naked eye. Viewing for Irish astronomy enthusiasts should be better tomorrow night with clearer skies forecast over County Clare.
The Dragon spacecraft is privately built by the company set up by PayPal founder Elon Musk, who is often in Ireland. He now has multi-billion dollar annual contracts from NASA to build their spacecraft so his space company SpaceX is now even bigger than PayPal when he sold it for a billion euro in 2003.
The most remarkable thing about this multi-billionaire businessman is that he said he plans to put 80,000 people on Mars during his lifetime. He is 43. Given his past successes in business, science and engineering one has to believe him.
“Many of his astronauts will not be America, they will come from all around the world, including Ireland – something schoolchildren watch this night-time spectacle over the next few nights should keep in mind.” said David Moore, Editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.