Satellite Snaps Photo of the ISS as the Pair Hurtle Past Each Other in Space

A black and white image of the International Space Station (ISS) captured at an angle, revealing its various modules and solar panels. Text on the image includes "HEO," "Blue Band," and "Object Name: ISS (ZARYA) (25544)" along with a 10m scale.

A satellite was able to capture a rare photo of the International Space Station as the two spacecraft hurtled past each other in space just 43 miles (69 kilometers) away.

The two objects were traveling at 3.7 miles (six kilometers) a second relative to each other. Any photographers who have ever tried to take photos at speed know how difficult it is to get a clear shot.

Space reports that the image was captured by HEO Robotics, a company that uses satellites to monitor objects orbiting the Earth.

“Non-Earth imaging provides the best view of satellites in space,” HEO writes on X (formerly Twitter). “We captured this image of the ISS as it passed over the Indian Ocean from a satellite 69.06 kilometers [43 miles] away.”

HEO Robotics is a commercial imaging company from Australia and, as noted by Space, they have already captured unique looks at satellites orbiting the Earth. For example, HEO captured the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ERS-2 Earth observation satellite on February 1, 2023, as it was falling back to terra firma after 16 years of scientific observations.

HEO Robotics also made a timelapse of the Chinese Tiangong space station being assembled. The video showed the Tianhe core module receiving Tianzhou cargo vessels and crewed Shenzhou spacecraft.

Capturing the International Space Station (ISS) is no easy task. Recently, PetaPixel featured film photographer Jason De Freitas who captured the ISS transiting the Sun on a 35mm analog camera. Impressively, De Freitas was already the first person to capture the International Space Station crossing the Moon on film and now he is the first photographer to capture the ISS transiting the Sun and the Moon on celluloid.

Image credits: Photographs by HEO Robotics