NASA's new app helps you find the International Space Station in the night sky

The mice were sent to the International Space Station (Nasa/PA) (PA Media)
The mice were sent to the International Space Station (Nasa/PA) (PA Media)

NASA has launched a new app to help spot the International Space Station in the night sky.

Spot the Station, the app available via iOS and Android, builds on the website version and makes easier the station sighting experience.

People get to spot the station in real-time regardless of where they are on the globe; it is possible to see when it will be over their location with the app's built-in compass, globe and map visual.

The main page on the app also features a countdown for the next potential viewing opportunity.The app's release comes just ahead of the 25th anniversary of International Space Station operations. In 1984, NASA was given the green light to design the station by President Ronald Reagan, with the U.S. Congress approving the budget.

The spacecraft was designed to orbit the earth at 17,500 mph (approximately every 90 minutes) and serves as a laboratory for scientific research and international cooperation in space. The best time to observe the station is during the early morning or evening, when the sun is not yet up but light still hits and reflects off of it.

Robyn Gatens, International Space Station director at NASA Headquarters in Washington said: “Even after 23 years of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station, it’s incredibly exciting to see the station when you look up at just the right moment..."The app will indeed be exciting for stargazers interested in upcoming sightings as a list is provided on the app of when the station is overhead and for how long. Users will have the option to be notified of when these events are happening at their location.

Moreover, there will be access to news articles and resources about the microgravity laboratory. Other features include options for capturing pictures and videos of sightings.

The app is available for use in 11 different languages including English, German, Spanish and French.