International Space Station Facts

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a big satellite that people can live in for a long time that is being built in space right now. The station is a connected project among several countries: the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. See the fact file below for more information about the International Space Station.
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  • The Space Station is the largest manned object ever sent into space. It is a research facility that measures 290 feet in length and 356 feet in width. It weighs more than 1 million pounds.
  • It orbits 250 miles above the earth and can be seen in the night sky. Scientists are able to study the earth and its environment. They can see changes that are occurring on land, at sea, and with our weather.
  • The ISS can be seen by people on the Earth. When completed, the ISS will be visible to more than 90 percent of the world’s population and circles the Earth every 90 minutes.
  • It is being powered by solar energy. This energy is necessary to power the six laboratories and all the living space on board.
  • The International Space Station was designed and built with the collaboration of 100,000 people, sixteen nations, and hundreds of companies. It was started in 1998.
  • The cost to build the ISS is right around 96 billion dollars.
  • The first permanent crew members included American Astronaut Bill Shepherd (he was also the ISS commander) and Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev, as flight engineer and Youri Gidaenko as Soyuz commander. This expedition lasted for 140 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes in orbit.
  • Space vehicles travel to the station bringing scientists and supplies.
  • Scientists are studying how different fluids, metals and other materials respond in space without the effect of gravity. These studies could help them better understand viruses, proteins and enzymes. Hopefully, these studies will one day lead to possible new treatments for many diseases and conditions, including cancer. Scientists are also striving to achieve more accurate measurement than is possible on earth, more efficient ways of producing materials, and a more complete understanding of the Universe.
  • About 160 space walks were required for the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station.