ultra-low frequency oscillator powered by the International Space Station


This is a script for the Monome Norns that uses the International Space Station (ISS) as a low-frequency oscillator, with a period of about 90 minutes. It grabs data from the Where The ISS At? API, and maps the location of the ISS over the Earth to sound.

The ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes or so, and so if you track its latitude and longitude then you’ll get a sine wave for the former, and a ramp wave for the latter.

The script generates a internal supersaw (ISS) drone composed by @jaseknighter. The latitude of the ISS is mapped to filter cutoff and modulation depth. The longitude is mapped to reverb absorption. Finally, the detune parameter of the supersaw is mapped to the distance between the ISS and the location specified in the localLat and localLon parameters at the top of the ufo.lua file, which you should replace with your own latitude and longitude coordinates to personalise the script.

Requires an internet connection.


The script plays a generative melody with a pre-set collection of notes, but you can change the note pool that it draws from by connecting a MIDI device and holding down some keys. You can set a root note and scale to quantize your note pool to in the parameters menu, as well as reset the original note pool.


Additionally, the script generates a trio of voltages that it spits out through the Crow module, which connects to Norns over USB. You can then send those voltages wherever you want in your Eurorack system to modulate your patches with rocket science.

  • out 1: latitude (-5-5V)
  • out 2: longitude (0-10V)
  • out 3: distance from your position to ISS (0-10V)

If you like this…

Check out some of my other Norns scripts - ppm, gridofpoints, and loudnumbers. Check out Loud Numbers, my data sonification studio, too.


To @jaseknighter for endless sound design and code help
To @alanza for the emulation of erbeverb reverb
To Eric Skogen for the Supercollider supersaw code
To Monome and the Norns community for everything :black_heart:


From the Maiden catalogue.



Wonderful concept! I’ll look forward to trying this one :artificial_satellite:


Real time map of the ISS paired with this is the cherry on top. Thank you for sharing!


This is fantastic! I know what’s going to make an appearance for Drone Day 2023.


Yes awesome! Always wanted to build a script that could do this. Bravo. :clap:


For those without a Norns, here’s a short video showcasing the sounds and visuals


stunning work! thank you so much for sharing :partying_face:


I’m really enjoying this a lot.

One thing I can’t seem to get working is MIDI out: and whenever I select “Reset notes list” in the params, the following appears in Maiden (twice):

warning: wrong count of arguments for command ‘update_notes’
warning: wrong count of arguments for command ‘update_notes’

MIDI out is working fine with the same device (a Micro Modular; also tried with a MicroMonsta 2) in for example Awake.


There’s no MIDI out! That’ll be why it doesn’t work. MIDI data is currently inward-only. I suppose I could fairly easily hook it up to output MIDI CCs in the same way it sends control voltages from Crow, though. I’ll look at that for v1.1.

The arguments thing is just a warning, not an error - I’ll see if I can clean it up, but the note list should reset just fine.


That would explain a lot! That and wishful thinking on my part… thanks for clarifying.

If you can set MIDI out as well that’d be a bonus, of course, but no worries if not as the script is terrific already.


Nice one!! Implements some of the thinking cooked in Nature Timers; Periodicity thread. Sweet job @radioedit and @jaseknighter .

PS seeing videos of norns untethered by cables sparks huge joy.


Heh I wondered if anyone would call me out on that :sweat_smile: In my defence you’re hearing a recording from tape, so it’s realistic… did I record the tape at the same time as the video? Hell no :joy: