GoAtlantis iOS app spots space shuttle in real time

App helps space watchers pick out Atlantis and the ISS from all the other shiny objects in the sky. Friday's scheduled shuttle launch marks the last chance to see the shuttle in orbit.

GoAtlantis shuttle tracking app
The space station looks so tiny from down on Earth. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

We're counting down to one last NASA space shuttle launch on Friday. This is it. No more space shuttles. It will be your last chance to gaze up into the night sky and see the pinpoint shining light of the shuttle above you.

The GoAtlantis app for iPhone and iPad will help you pick out Space Shuttle Atlantis from the usual satellites and stars. The app tracks the trajectory of both the space shuttle and International Space Station.

GoAtlantis uses your location to tell you when the station and shuttle will be passing over and what direction to look. Choose from world or sky views with trajectory lines that trace the orbits. You can practice with the space station tracking until the shuttle launches. Shuttle information will be updated in real time once the spacecraft gets off the planet.

The tracking app comes courtesy of GoSoftWorks, a developer known for the paid GoSatWatch satellite tracking app and GoSkyWatch Planetarium star identification app. The space shuttle-specific version is offered free to commemorate 30 years of the shuttle program.

I once spotted the space shuttle and space station together in the sky above Albuquerque. The viewing window was just a few short seconds, but the experience was memorable. I recommend looking up at the quickly moving lights and thinking to myself, "There are people up there!"

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