Globe Lamp Tracks The ISS For You

Assuming you don’t work at a major space agency, you probably don’t really need to know the exact location of the International Space Station at all times. If you’d like to know just because it’s cool, this lamp is for you.

The lamp is driven by a Wemos D1, which pulls in data on the space station’s current location from Open Notify. A stepper motor and servo motor serve to control a pan-tilt assembly, aiming a 405nm laser at the inside of a 3D printed globe to indicate the station’s position above Earth. As a nice touch, there’s also a ring of NeoPixel LEDs that are controlled to glow on the sunny side of the planet, too.

This is a fun project that makes it easy to know when to bust out your ham gear to chat to the team overhead, and would also make a great conversation starter. It’s not the first hardware ISS monitor we’ve seen, either! Video after the break.

15 thoughts on “Globe Lamp Tracks The ISS For You

  1. Idea for version 2:
    Make only HALF the globe lighted, perhaps a few LEDs mounted on a flat circular baffle centered on the sphere’s center, and rotate that assembly at one turn per day in sync with the time, so only the daylight side of the planet is lighted. The distance from the baffle’s border to the sphere’s inner surface should provide enough “twilight”. Of course, the baffle should be made to tilt ±23° according to the seasons.
    The laser could be fixed pointing up from the base, and a small mirror in a hole in the center of the baffle could direct the beam.

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