I’ve seen the International Space Station fly over twice. The first time was in Houston with a bunch of space tweeps after having spent the day touring Johnson Space Center. The second was tonight with my two year old son. The space tweeps were awesome, but tonight took the cake. We headed to the Oakland hills, watched the crescent moon set over San Francisco, looked at the airplanes in line to land at SFO and OAK, and then started looking for the space station.
It was a 2 minute pass, so I wanted to make sure we saw it. The ISS appeared in the Big Dipper and started rising. It was very bright (-3.6 magnitude) and started moved slowly upward. I pointed it out to my son and he started tracking it with his eyes and finger. He then said, “touch it?” We spent a solid 30 seconds reaching out as far as we could trying to touch the station. Asking the expert, I said, “did we touch it” and he said yes. The station kept rising until it was nearly overhead and then it was gone… I said, “The station disappeared,” which he repeated almost all the way home.
My son is two, he doesn’t know what the space station is, though he can identify a space shuttle, so this probably didn’t have much significance for him, but for me it meant everything. We shared and experience that was truly awesome.
On the way home he asked if we could “see it again?” I said yes, we would definitely go out and see the International Space Station fly over again.