See The International Space Station Flying Like A Jet In The Sky

A YouTuber made a video of what it would look like to see the International Space Station flying in the sky like a jet

By Douglas Helm | Published

It’s always cool when you can look up into the night sky and see the International Space Station drifting along like a moving star. But, what if instead flying over 200 miles above us in space, the ISS was flying at around 10,000 feet in the air? Benjamin Granville took to YouTube to provide us with the answer by simulating that exact scenario in Microsoft Flight Simulator (via the Byte).

In the video, you can see the International Space Station blasting through the skies going roughly 17,150 miles per hour, which covers around five miles per second. These blazing speeds make it nearly impossible to see the ISS from ground level as it soars past in the blink of an eye. The YouTube video also highlights what it’s like to see the Earth from the ISS at that altitude, and the results are dizzying, to say the least.

According to the video, it would take the International Space Station roughly 90 minutes to orbit the Earth at this speed. To put this in perspective, the fastest trip around the world was done in a supersonic Concorde jet that managed the trip in 31 hours, 27 minutes, and 49 seconds. In 2019 a circumnavigation of the Earth over the two poles, which is longer than the Tropic of Cancer route, was completed in 46 hours, 39 minutes, and 38 seconds.

Clearly, the International Space Station crushes both of these records — theoretically. Realistically, it would be impossible for the ISS to achieve these speeds at such an altitude. The ISS is designed to orbit the Earth in the gravity of low-Earth orbit, not 10,000 feet above the ground with all the gravity and air resistance that comes with it.

Still, it’s definitely interesting to get a new perspective on how fast these objects are actually traveling. Fortunately for us, you can see the International Space Station just fine at night when it’s drifting along at what seems like a lazy pace from our perspective. It’s also probably much safer up there (and more useful).

The International Space Station is quite the feat of engineering and collaboration, as it’s a joint project brought to fruition with the help of five different space agencies from five different nations including  NASA United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). While it certainly wasn’t designed to fly at normal jet altitudes, the station is used as a research laboratory for many different scientific fields. The ISS will finally end its mission in 2031 when the station is de-orbited.

While the International Space Station has long been a neutral ground for some of the world’s biggest superpowers, Russia’s continued cooperation was called into question following the country’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions placed on Russia by participating ISS countries. Initially, the head of Roscosmos Yury Borisov indicated that Russia may pull out of the program in 2025, but eventually, he mentioned that Russia would likely continue its participation in the ISS program until at least 2028. It remains to be seen if they stick to this plan.