The International Space Station (ISS) is spacecraft capable of supporting a human crew in a low orbit for an long period of time, hence a type of space habitat. This project involves five global space agencies from 15 countries i.e. United States’ NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos, Japan’s JAXA, Europe’s ESA, and Canada’s CSA.
According to NASA, here are some thrilling facts about the International Space Station:
- The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000.
- It weighs approximately (420,000 kilograms or 420 tons).
- The International Space Station flies 400 km high at speeds that defy gravity – literally!
- At 28, 800 km/hr it only takes approximately 90 minutes for the weightless laboratory to make a complete circuit of Earth.
- Astronauts working and living on the ISS experience 16 sunrises and sunsets each day!
- Due to the Station’s orbit, it appears to travel from west to east over the earth, and due to Earth’s own rotation the Space Station’s moves about 2,200 km to the west on each orbit.
- An international crew of seven (7) people live and work while traveling at a speed of five miles per second, orbiting Earth about every 90 minutes.
- The solar array wingspan (measuring 356 feet or 109 meters) is longer than the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380 ( measuring 262 feet or 80 meters).
- Peggy Whitson set the U.S. record for spending the most total time living and working in space at 665 days on Sept. 2, 2017.
- The living and working space in the station is larger than a six-bedroom house (and has six sleeping quarters, two bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree view bay window).
- To mitigate the loss of muscle and bone mass in the human body in microgravity, the astronauts work out at least two hours a day.
- Astronauts and cosmonauts regularly conduct spacewalks for space station construction, maintenance and upgrades.