Orbital View: 100,000 Laps Around the Earth

That’s the milestone the International Space Station reached yesterday. To celebrate, the U.S. National Laboratory aboard the ISS posted this serene view of the structure perched above Earth (though the angle does make it look like an ominous TIE fighter):

The first component of the ISS, the Zarya cargo module, launched on November 20, 1998. Since then, it’s orbited Earth every 90 minutes at around 17,500 miles per hour. NASA puts that in perspective:

That’s more than 2,643,342,240 miles traveled. Which is also like 10 round trips to Mars, OR nearly the distance to Neptune.

In commemoration of the 100,000th lap, another Instagram account from NASA posted a stunning, star-filled view of the space station:

From the caption:

This photo is part of a time lapse sequence showing stars in the Milky Way Galaxy visible over an Earth limb as seen by Astronaut Kjell Lindgren who captured this shot for all of us to see. Thank you Kjell!

Kjell completed his ISS tour in December, but his fellow astronaut Tim Peake, in orbit since December, just sent this commemorative shot:

And for astronaut Jeff Williams, today is back to business as usual:

We deployed three more “NANOSAT” satellites.

A photo posted by Jeff Williams (@astro_jeffw) on

More updates from NASA:

More Cubesats will deployed through Wednesday contributing to a wide variety of research designed by students and scientists. The crew is measuring the grip strength of mice today for the Rodent Research experiment. That study is exploring an antibody used on Earth that may prevent the weakening of muscles and bones in space. A laptop computer is being readied ahead of next week’s expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). The computer will monitor sensors and prepare for upcoming BEAM operations.

On to 200,000 orbits ...

(See all Orbital Views here)