ISS on a raspberry pi @raspberry_pi #piday #raspberrypi

February 07, 2014 Jessica


The International Space Station is visible at certain times over certain areas. Paul Brown of the blog smstext adventures in geocaching and raspberry pi used kickstarter project issabove to make a device with his pi that will let him know when the ISS is visible.

This week I came across a brilliant kickstarter project looking for funding, it’s the international space station alarm that will alert you to the international space station going overhead at 17000mph and about 500km away.

The space station takes around 90 minutes to orbit the earth and is the size of an American football pitch. I was lucky to see it a few years ago camping with the Russian space cargo shuttle tailing it and was lucky to see it at dusk with it very close to the earth and directly overhead.

Since then I’ve always been interested in it, it certainly brightens up evenings when camping around a campfire and with many phone apps why would someone want this?

Well for one you can plug in most add ons, piglow, ledborg, blink stick and adafruit 16×2 rgb screen. Kids will love the excitement as the lights come to life as the ISS approaches, flies over and then the lights go as the ISS disappears.

The ISS can be visible if it passes us by close to sunset or sunrise. If it’s going to be visible look for the pass type of “visible”. Not all passes are as good as another. If you want to see the space station you will want to find a visible pass where the ISS is predicted to be very bright. Look at the Brightness column- you want the lowest number dislayed there. A good number would be -3 or lower. That would mean the ISS is as bright or brighter than the planet Venus in the sky (which is often the brightest thing in the night time sky other than the full moon).

Read more.

Featured Adafruit Products!


Adafruit RGB Negative 16×2 LCD+Keypad Kit for Raspberry Pi – This new Adafruit Pi Plate makes it easy to use an RGB 16×2 Character LCD. We really like the RGB Character LCDs we stock in the shop. (For RGB we have RGB negative and RGB positive.) Unfortunately, these LCDs do require quite a few digital pins, 6 to control the LCD and then another 3 to control the RGB backlight for a total of 9 pins. That’s nearly all the GPIO available on a Pi!

With this in mind, we wanted to make it easier for people to get these LCD into their projects so we devised a Pi plate that lets you control a 16×2 Character LCD, up to 3 backlight pins AND 5 keypad pins using only the two I2C pins on the R-Pi! The best part is you don’t really lose those two pins either, since you can stick i2c-based sensors, RTCs, etc and have them share the I2C bus. This is a super slick way to add a display without all the wiring hassle. Read more.