Explore the International Space Station—with Google Street View

David Pogue
Tech Critic

You’re probably familiar with Google Maps Street View. It’s the feature that lets you look around you wherever you happen to be on the map, using photos stitched together to create a sort of 3-D world.

In the 10 years of Street View’s existence, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has added 3-D photographic walkarounds for mountains, the ocean floor, and even the interiors of museums and other important buildings. On Thursday, Google added its first off-world site to Street View: the International Space Station. (Click here to go!)

Now you, too, can fly through the Space Station.

You can fly through all 15 modules of the ISS. Along the way, annotations describe what you’re looking at, and what the astronauts do in each spot.

As usual, you can use the usual mouse and keyboard to navigate, like so:

  • To change where you’re looking, drag in any direction
  • To zoom in or out, turn your mouse’s scroll wheel (or press + or –)
  • When you see a white rectangle on your cursor, click to jump to that spot
  • When you see a bullseye dot, click it for a written description. (Click the dot again to hide the description panel.)
The dots open a side panel containing a description.

As it turns out, exploring with Street View on the ISS isn’t like looking at pictures or videos of the space station. Because you have control of where you’re looking and going, it’s a far more immersive experience, and gives you a much better feeling of what it’s actually like to be there.

This is Node 1, the American space lab.