The International Space Station draws upon the resources and the scientific and technological expertise of 16 cooperating nations, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia and 11 participating member nations of the European Space Agency -- Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In addition, Brazil and Italy have signed on as payload participants.
The living and working housing will be the equal to the passenger and load capabilities of a jumbo 747-400.Along with the environment module there will be 7 laboratories - 3 Russian, 2 American, One European and 1 Japanese The current modules that are in space are Zarya, Zvezda, Unity & Destiny modules, the next to turn up is the US Airlock system.
Right now the International Space Station is not complete, it will have a mass of almost one million pounds, be larger than a five-bedroom house and measure 361 feet end to end.
Four American photovoltaic modules will provide power to the space station, each with two arrays measuring 112 feet long by 39 feet wide. Each module generates about 23 kW. The total surface area of the arrays will be more than half an acre! This electricity is distributed through the station via 8 miles or almost 13 kilometers of wire. The space Station uses 45 kW just for research, experiments. The ISS use a 110 kW of electricity this is equivalent to ten houses using electricity.
Fifty-two computers will control the systems on the International Space Station. The flight support software has 1.7 million lines of code. The 58-foot robot arm CanadArm2, can lift payloads of up to 220,000 pounds.
The international Space station orbits at a standard altitude of 220 miles at a slant of 51.6 degrees to the equator. The...
The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility which is being assembled in Low Earth Orbit. Construction of the station began in 1998, and is scheduled to be complete by 2011.
Operations will continue until 2015. At present, the ISS is the largest artificial satellite in Earth orbit. It is bigger than any previous space station. The ISS program is a joint effort by the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Russia, Japan, Canada and ten European nations through the European Space Agency.
As the space station is in a Low Earth Orbit, it is visible to the naked eye. It orbits at an altitude of approximately 350 km above the surface of the Earth, clocking an average speed of 27,700 kilometers (17,210 mi) per hour and completing 15.7 orbits per day.
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The first resident crew, Expedition 1, entered the station on 2 November 2000. Since then, it has been continuously staffed. So there has been a permanent human presence in space for the last nine years. At present, the station has the capacity for a crew of three.
It will be staffed by a resident crew of six starting with Expedition 20. The present crew is Expedition 18. The station has played host to astronauts from 16 different nations, and it was the destination of the first six space tourists.
The International Space Station is mainly a research laboratory. The station has an advantage over spacecraft like NASA’s Space Shuttle. As it is a long-term platform in the space environment, it allows long-duration studies to be performed. Science experiments are conducted daily across many fields, including human research, life sciences, physical sciences, and Earth observation, as well as education and technology demonstrations.
One research effort is to improve the understanding of long-term space exposure on the human body. The effect of near- weightlessness on non-human subjects is also being studied. Other research areas include the effect of the low gravity environment on combustion, studying the efficiency of burning and the creation of by-products from certain materials.
Such studies will improve our understanding of energy production, which will have an economic and environmental impact. There are also plans to use the ISS to examine aerosols, ozone, water vapor, and oxides in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as cosmic rays, cosmic dust, antimatter, and dark matter in the Universe.
The ISS also serves as a testing location for spacecraft systems needed for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, allowing for equipment to be developed in the relatively safe location of Low Earth Orbit. The ISS offers numerous opportunities for educational outreach and international cooperation.
The ISS crews provide educational opportunities for students on Earth in the form of student-developed experiments, educational demonstrations, and student participation in classroom versions of ISS experiments, NASA investigator experiments, and ISS engineering activities.
The ISS program itself was made possible because of international cooperation. It is a very significant achievement for mankind as it allows 14 nations to live and work together in space. This in turn offers important lessons for future multinational missions.
A recent report in the ‘Times of India’ points to a cold war – like situation between Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts. Apparently relations soured after the ISS operations went commercial in 2005. This meant that Moscow started billing America for sending its astronauts into space. Other nations too followed suit.
Now the situation is such that occupants from the two nations are not even sharing rations, amenities like gym facilities and toilets. But these regulations reflect decisions at the political and bureaucratic level rather than the space station’s personnel themselves.