It would be a massive understatement to say that the International Space Station is impressive. It was built in joint effort between the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, and Japan, and has been been continuously inhabited since 2000. It’s the largest human-made object in low Earth orbit, where it maintains an altitude of 400 kilometers. Simply put, the International Space Station is one of humanity’s greatest achievement. It’s possible to see it with the naked eye, but difficult. Luckily, Arpan Mondal designed an ISS Globe you can create to get notified when the space station is overhead.
The ISS makes a full revolution around the Earth approximately once every 92 minutes, and its exact position is tracked the entire time by multiple ground stations. That position is made publicly available, and you can use it to determine where the ISS is at any given time. In this case, you’re using that information to blink an LED whenever the space station passes over the device’s location. You can setup the LED’s behavior however you like, but Mondal’s code simply has it blink for 30 seconds whenever the ISS passes by.
To make it all work, you’ll just need an ESP8266 NodeMCU development board, an appropriate power supply, and some kind of LED. Mondal has housed those within an old LED light enclosure, but you can use or 3D print whatever kind of case you want. The code is very simple, and uses the BlynkIoT platform to control the NodeMCU. Blynk, in turn, connects to the IFTTT service. All you have to do is setup the IFTTT existing applet for tracking the ISS, and have that trigger your Blynk event. The result is a quick and simple project that will help you appreciate the ISS.