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US deep space organisation NASA is hosting a first-of-its-kind interactive session with astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), orbiting over 200 miles above the Earth's surface.
The session will be on Google+ Hangout and it starts on Friday, at 10.30am EDT (2.30pm GMT). It will run for about an hour and will allow people on Earth the rare chance to have a face-to-face conversation with people in outer space.
According to NASA, there are six astronauts aboard the station and they are led by Commander Kevin Ford, who will remain in space till March 2013. At that point, Ford and Flight Engineers Oleg Novitiskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin will complete their stint and Chris Hadfield will assume command. Incidentally, when he does, Hadfield becomes the first Canadian to take command of the ISS. Flight Engineers Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko complete the crew.
Where to Watch Live
The event can be viewed live on NASA's Google+ page as well as their YouTube channel. A list of questions has already been received from around the world but more questions will be accepted - through Google+, Twitter (#askAstro) and Facebook.
For more information on the event, visit NASA's ISS Web site.
Facts about ISS
- The ISS marked the tenth anniversary of continuous human occupation in November, 2010. To date, over 200 individuals have visited the station.
- At the time of the anniversary, the station had completed over 1.5 billion statute miles (equivalent to eight round trips to the Sun) and orbited the Earth 57,631 times.
- More than 160 spacewalks have been conducted, adding to over 1,000 hours.
- The station weighs 861,804 pounds, exclusive of docked spaceships. There are more rooms than a five-bedroom house and in-station facilities include a gymnasium
- The solar array wingspan (240ft) is longer than that of a Boeing 777 200/300 model, which is 212ft.
- The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power needed for the ISS is supplied by an acre of solar panels.