Explore the International Space Station through Google Street View

Feel what it is like for astronauts to look down on Earth from outer space

Cupola Observation Module. Photograph: Google Street View/Nasa

Only a select few have ever set foot on the International Space Station (ISS) but now anyone can explore and look down on Earth from outer space without years of training to become an astronaut.

Google launched its first "gravity free" Street View on Google Maps with photographs and imagery of all 15 modules of the ISS on Thursday.

A Google spokeswoman said there would be clear annotations highlighting areas such as where the astronauts exercise and scientific experiments are carried out.

International Space Station in Street View in Google Maps

Street View, which began 10 years ago, allows 360 degree imagery around the world and now in a part of space.


The ISS was set up in 2000 for astronauts from around the world to study what happens people when they live and work in space. It is located about 322km (220 miles) above Earth.

It acts as a base for space exploration and possible future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids.

Thomas Pesquet, an astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), spent six months aboard the ISS as a flight engineer and captured the images for Street View in zero gravity.

He said the station itself gave astronauts a unique perspective on Earth and the opportunity to carry out studies such as solving mysteries of the immune system, and studying cyclones in order to alert populations and governments when a storm is approaching, or monitoring marine litter.

Ms Pesquet said in a post about the venture the Street View team worked with Nasa and the Marshall Space Flight Centre to design a gravity free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras.

“Then I collected still photos in space, those were then sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS,” he said.

“It’s a busy place, with six crew members carrying out research and maintenance activities 12 hours a day.

“Looking at Earth from above made me think about my own world a little differently, and I hope that the ISS on Street View changes your view of the world too.”

Click here to go to Google Street View on the ISSOpens in new window ]

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is Digital Features Editor and journalist with The Irish Times