TAMPA, Fla. - Super Bowl LV in Tampa is going to have an out-of-this world flyover.
Sure, the Air Force is sending a rare trifecta of bombers over Raymond James Stadium as the national anthem concludes. But the International Space Station will also be soaring overhead later in the game.
The USAF B-1, B-2, and B-52 will be flying at 1,000 feet or so, as they did in last week’s rehearsal. The space station, meanwhile, will be 268 miles up as it passes over Tampa at over 17,000 mph.
NASA says the station will be appearing in the northwestern sky at 7:15 p.m., which is about 45 minutes after kickoff. The station will look like a bright star moving from northwest to south-southeast, reaching about 57 degrees in the sky – not quite two-thirds of the way up from the horizon.
The entire pass will last about seven minutes.
Of course, the timing is a ‘super’ coincidence, the result of orbital mechanics. The space station often passes over Florida as it circles the Earth once every 90 minutes.
The seven astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the station should be able to see the brightly lit stadium from space, especially with the help of the long lenses they often use for photography of terrestrial landmarks.
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi offered a preview of the view when he tweeted a photo of Tampa from the station on Friday.
Back in 2016, astronaut Scott Kelly snapped a photo of Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco – as the Broncos beat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 – during his year in space.