Popular Science

May 17, 2012

Astronaut Don Pettit Creates the First Mailing Address in Space

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The International Space Station is in constant motion, whipping around the Earth at some 17,000 miles per hour. But according to current ISS inhabitant and NASA astronaut Don Pettit, there’s no reason why a bullet-fast orbital space station with no fixed location shouldn’t have a fixed mailing address–after all, Navy ships have mailing addresses, as do remote outposts like McMurdo Station in Antarctica–and he’s devised just such a postal nomenclature to satisfy this need via his NASA blog.

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Technology, Clay Dillow, don pettit, international space station, ISS, nasa, Space

In this system, the “zip code” is 51.603, the first three digits representing the orbital inclination (which should help future space couriers locate the address on orbit) and the last two digits being a designator for the ISS itself. The station is the third such space station at this orbital location, after the Salyut series of stations and Mir. Pettit reasons that this nomenclature should work until the orbit becomes clogged with up to 99 space stations.

Postage rates, however, are likely going to be astronomical.

[NASA Blogs]

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