AN ASTRONAUT revealed when the International Space Station can be seen above Sussex this evening.

Major Tim Peake said he had received an influx of requests for timings of the station's fly-over from eager star-gazers.

They also asked when they could spot the SpaceX rocket which was due to be launched shortly before 9.30pm.

The Chichester-born spaceman, who was Britain's first astronaut to officially walk in space, obliged by posting the times on social media.

He said: "Lots of people are asking about timings for tonight's spacecraft sightings.

The Argus:

"For the UK, the International Space Station (can be seen at) 9.20pm - look west, to the right of the moon).

"For the SpaceX launch, this can be watched on the Nasa website then, at about 9.50pm, it will be following the same path as the International Space Station over the UK."

But the SpaceX launch was called off with less than 20 minutes to go until it was due to take off as a result of adverse weather conditions.

A launch is now planned for Saturday.

A SpaceX spokesman said: "Standing down from launch today due to unfavorable weather in the flight path. Our next launch opportunity is Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC."

SpaceX, founded by South African entrepreneur Elon Musk, will be launching two astronauts into space tonight in partnership with Nasa.

It will be the first manned launch to take off from American soil since 2011.

The world will be watching eagerly to see how astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley fair on their journey to the International Space Station.

They will be on board a Crew Dragon capsule, blasted into space by a Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX, which should dock at the International Space Station about 24 hours after launching.

Despite the delayed launch, the International Space Station can still be seen tonight.

Astronomers have said that the lockdown has created particularly favourable conditions to snap the station as it passes high above Sussex.

The Argus:

One, Robin Durant, has taken a series of stunning photographs in recent months.

He said the absence of aeroplane trails and a dramatic drop in air pollution had left Sussex skies far clearer than normal.

This allowed him to capture a shot of the International Space Station blazing over Westdene in Brighton at the weekend.

The 85-year-old, from Withdean, said: "With the lockdown, air pollution has decreased incredibly due to less cars being on the roads and less manufacturing going on.

The Argus:

"As astronomers, we are experiencing beautiful skies which we don't normally have.

"Without Gatwick and other airports running, we are not getting all the contrails from planes.

"For a normal photograph, I will leave it for a four minute exposure. But in that time an aeroplane will often fly over and mess things up."

Robin, who is the chairman of the Adur Astronomical Society, said the space station had been visible several times this week.

He said: "I took a 40 second exposure which shows the trail. If I had taken a normal photo it would just look like a star.

The Argus:

"But it's fast-moving. It comes from the West and goes into the East.

"It's funny to look at it and think there are people on board.

"We always give it a wave when it flies over."

Though this might be the most extreme example of social distancing possible, Robin said he has had much closer contact with those on board the station in the past.

A few years ago we messaged those on board and asked, 'when you go over Brighton, can you take a photograph for us?'

"And they did."

All pictures by Robin Durant