Tonight (March 29) is metro Atlanta’s final, best chance to see the International Space Station (ISS) before Georgia Tech graduate Shane Kimbrough returns to Earth on April 10. The orbiting laboratory will speed across the sky for five minutes beginning at 8:15. It will be very bright and look like an airplane but won’t have any flashing lights. NASA has posted tips on where to look.
After tonight, the remaining two opportunities will be very brief, and the ISS will be low above the horizon.
Kimbrough will undock a week from Monday and land in Kazakhstan a few hours later. This will complete a mission that has kept him in orbit since October 19. During those five months, Kimbrough has captured cargo ships with a robotic arm, grown lettuce and flown a flag from Georgia Tech’s mascot, the Ramblin’ Wreck.
Kimbrough serves as commander of the station and is responsible for its crew of six. He will perform his fourth spacewalk of the mission tomorrow morning when he and fellow American Peggy Whitson go outside for several hours to install equipment for future cargo missions.
Kimbrough received his master’s degree in operations research from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering in 1998. He grew up in Smyrna, Georgia, and attended Tech basketball and football games as a kid.
This is his second trip to space — he flew aboard the space shuttle in 2008. Georgia Tech has 14 astronaut graduates, tied for second among public universities.