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Ambarish Ganesh
Ambarish Ganesh • May 17, 2012

NASA Astronaut Don Pettit Establishes The First Mailing Address In Space!

If the present ISS occupant, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, is to be believed, there can exist a fixed mailing address for the god-speed International Space Station, continuously orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, the know-how of which he has posted on his NASA blog.
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Here's how he explains his address-
My sleep station, a coffin-sized box, is located in the fifth deck space of Node 2. From an Earth-based perspective, I pop out of my sleep station as if I were coming out of the floor. I am thus situated on the International Space Station (ISS) in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees (the angle of our orbit plane to the equator) and an average altitude of 400 kilometers. It occurred to me that my address should be: Node 2, Deck 5, ISS, LEO 51.603.

The postal nomenclature he has come up with, has the “zip code” as 51.603, where the first three digits stand for the orbital inclination (which'll prove highly helpful for future space couriers to pinpoint any address on the orbit) and the last two digits stand for the specified position of the ISS itself. The space station is the third of its kind at this orbital location, following the Salyut series of stations and Mir. Pettit believes that this nomenclature should function till the time the orbit gets congested with nearly 99 space stations.

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