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How to tour the International Space Station with Google Street View

You can now take a virtual tour of the International Space Station (ISS) thanks to Google Street View. Here’s how to see inside the ISS using Street View on your phone, tablet or computer, plus some of the best sights once you’re on-board.

To celebrate the 48th anniversary of the first manned mission to the moon, Google is offering us all a full virtual tour of the International Space Station. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer connected to the internet and you can virtually explore all 15 modules of the ISS, right now.

Like its Google Arts & Culture tours, the ISS Street View tour offers full annotations of the most interesting bits as you float around. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the life of the astronauts on board, while also proving slightly claustrophobic.

This is the second new Street View tour offered up this week. On Monday we were treated to a virtual rummage around some of the coolest real-life shooting locations for Game of Thrones, to commemorate the launch of the seventh season.

How can I virtually tour the ISS with Google Street View?

To start the International Space Station tour, just head to the Google Street View ISS page, hidden away in the planets section of Street View.

You’ll start off in the Cupola Observational Module, which is designed so astronauts can check out any exterior activities, including the approach of vehicles and any robot maintenance.

To look around, you can simply swipe your finger (if your device has a touchscreen) or click and drag your mouse. Each view affords you a full 360-degree look at your surroundings, which means a lot of tech and inexplicable stuff to admire.

You can click or tap to move around, while tapping the arrow on the left side of the screen opens up the information tab. This will tell you all about the area you’re currently exploring.

What are the highlights of the ISS Google Street View tour?

Google’s virtual tour of the International Space Station includes a lot of cool stuff to scrutinise, from all 15 modules as well as the two different docking vehicles. Here’s our pick of some of the best stuff you’ll see as you explore.

We’re enjoying having a shifty around the various areas, including the Muscle Atrophy Research Exercise System which is used to study the effects of microgravity on human bodies. With some help from a basketball and fuzzy workout gear, apparently.

Also cool is the Russian service module, Zvezda, which includes all kinds of fascinating stuff. Enormous camera lenses sit side-by-side with fascinating computer tech and even clunky deskjet printers, all pinned to the walls.

Be sure to check out the Quest airlock too. In here you’ll see a couple of astronauts hanging out in their EMU suits (which stands for Extravehicular Mobility Unit).

The SpaceX Dragon Docking Vehicle is designed to transport astronauts as well as their cargo to destinations around the ISS. This includes sending supplies up to the station from Earth, before returning back to the planet. You can also explore the Orbital Cygnus Docking Vehicle, which again transports cargo to the ISS, before being loaded with trash and sent off to burn up in re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere. So much for a peaceful retirement.

Share your best bits of the ISS Street View tour in the comments below.


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