The International Space Station is in constant motion. But at least one NASA astronaut doesn’t think this specific detail should exclude the orbiting outpost from having its own mailing address. After realising that Navy ships and other frontier stations like McMurdo Base and the Amundse-Scott South Base in Antarctica have formal mailing addresses, spaceman Don Pettit, who is part of six-member crew aboard the ISS, decided that the spacecraft should also be able to receive snail mail.
So where should you direct this hypothetical letter?
Node 2, Deck 5, ISS, LEO 51.603.
Pettit explains how he arrived at this address in a recent blog post:
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.
“51.603” would be the space zip code. The first three digits of the space zip code (516) refer to the orbital inclination. The last two digits (03) are a designator for your particular space station. Pettit’s station is the third at this location.
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