Them from the Ground
Depending on your location on the Earth's surface, the spacecraft's position in orbit and the time of day, you may be able to see the International Space Station as it orbits about 386 kilometers (240 miles) above the planet. A spacecraft will be seen as a steady white pinpoint of light moving slowly across the sky.
The Flight Dynamics Officers in NASA's Mission Control Center use sophisticated computer software to predict when and where the space station will be visible to people on the ground.
The text-based listing is in a column format, a sample of which
is shown below:
Nov 14/06:22 AM||4||66||10
The left column
is the satellite. The next column is the local date and the local
time. The third column gives the duration, or the length of time
in minutes the spacecraft is expected to be visible, assuming a
clear sky. The fourth column gives the maximum elevation the vehicle
will achieve above the horizon (90 degrees is directly overhead).
The fifth column tells the direction and elevation at which the
spacecraft will become visible initially. The sixth column gives
the direction and elevation at which the spacecraft will disappear
For best results, observers should look in the direction and at
the elevation shown in the appearing column at the time listed.
Because of the speed of the orbiting vehicles, telescopes are not
practical. However, a good pair of field binoculars may reveal some
detail of the structural shape of the spacecraft.
provided by Glenn Research Center.