Stargazers across the globe caught glimpses of the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Atlantis racing through the sky early this week.

Atlantis (Mission STS-117) undocked from the ISS on Tuesday evening, and still remains close to the station. Space agencies reported that viewers should be able to see the two spacecraft traveling through the sky near eachother. The Maryland Weather Blog reports that the shuttle should be flying “just ahead of the ISS…[which] should be brighter, and perhaps a bit amber compared with Atlantis“. Viewing conditions for this flyover are favorable due to new reflective equipment recently installed on the station, which will (along with Atlantis) be visible to the naked eye.

The flyover was visible both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, however cloudy, unfavorable conditions blocked many viewers from seeing the celestial spectacle. Weather conditions throughout the country have cleared up for tonight’s flyover, which is expected to be visible in all 48 contiguous states.

Viewers who were able to witness the flyover on Tuesday night

NASA also recently cleared the shuttle for re-entry. There was suspicion as to the shuttle’s condition after debris was seen protruding from a wing. Engineers have deemed the problem to be insignifigent. Computer problems that were reported earlier this week aboard the space station also seem to have been resolved.

The shuttle expected to land at Kennedy Space Center on June 21.

Sources: Atlantis heat shield cleared for return to Earth – CNN
Rare space station, shuttle flyby tonight – Maryland Weather Blog
Space Station, shuttle visible from Earth – FOXNews
International Space Station – NASA

[Danny blogs at http://the-madness.net]

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