International Space Station

International Space Station (ISS)
A forward view of the International Space Station with limb of the Earth in the background. In view are the station's sixteen paired maroon-coloured main solar array wings, eight on either side of the station, mounted to a central integrated truss structure. Spaced along the truss are ten white radiators. Mounted to the base of the two rightmost main solar arrays pairs, there are two smaller paired light brown-coloured ISS Roll-out Solar Arrays. Attached to the centre of the truss is a cluster of pressurised modules arranged in an elongated T shape. A set of solar arrays are mounted to the module at the aft end of the cluster.
Oblique underside view in November 2021
International Space Station program insignia, with flags of the original signatory states.
Station statistics
COSPAR ID1998-067A
SATCAT no.25544
Call signAlpha, Station
Launch20 November 1998 (1998-11-20)
Launch pad
Mass450,000 kg (990,000 lb)[3]
Length109 m (358 ft) (overall length), 94 m (310 ft) (truss length)[4]
Width73 m (239 ft) (solar array length)[4]
Pressurised volume1,005.0 m3 (35,491 cu ft)[4]
Atmospheric pressure101.3 kPa (14.7 psi; 1.0 atm)
79% nitrogen, 21% oxygen
Perigee altitude413 km (256.6 mi) AMSL[5]
Apogee altitude422 km (262.2 mi) AMSL[5]
Orbital inclination51.64°[5]
Orbital speed7.67 km/s; 27,600 km/h; 17,100 mph [6]
Orbital period92.9 minutes[7]
Orbits per day15.5[5]
Orbit epoch16 August 16:19:30[8]
Days in orbit25 years, 6 months
(20 May 2024)
Days occupied23 years, 6 months, 18 days
(20 May 2024)
No. of orbits141,117 as of August 2023[8]
Orbital decay2 km/month
Statistics as of 22 December 2022
(unless noted otherwise)
The components of the ISS in an exploded diagram, with modules on-orbit highlighted in orange.
Station elements as of December 2022
(exploded view)

The International Space Station (ISS) is a large space station assembled and maintained in low Earth orbit by a collaboration of five space agencies and their contractors: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). The ISS is the largest space station ever built. Its primary purpose is to perform microgravity and space environment experiments.[12]

Operationally, the station is divided into two sections: the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) assembled by Roscosmos, and the US Orbital Segment, assembled by NASA, JAXA, ESA and CSA. A striking feature of the ISS is the Integrated Truss Structure, which connects the large solar panels and radiators to the pressurized modules. The pressurized modules are specialized for research, habitation, storage, spacecraft control, and airlock functions. Visiting spacecraft dock at the station via its eight docking and berthing ports. The ISS maintains an orbit with an average altitude of 400 kilometres (250 mi)[13] and circles the Earth in roughly 93 minutes, completing 15.5 orbits per day.[14]

The ISS programme combines two prior plans to construct crewed Earth-orbiting stations: Space Station Freedom planned by the United States, and the Mir-2 station, planned by the Soviet Union. The first ISS module was launched in 1998. Major modules have been launched by Proton and Soyuz rockets and by the Space Shuttle launch system. The first long-term residents, Expedition 1, arrived on November 2, 2000. Since then, the station has been continuously occupied for 23 years and 200 days, the longest continuous human presence in space. As of March 2024, 279 individuals from 22 countries have visited the space station.[15] The ISS is expected to have additional modules (the Axiom Orbital Segment, for example) before being de-orbited by a dedicated NASA spacecraft in January 2031.

  1. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference :3 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Russia's Soyuz MS-24 launches crew for up to yearlong stay on space station". Archived from the original on 6 October 2023. Retrieved 15 September 2023.
  3. ^ "ISS: International Space Station". Archived from the original on 10 August 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Garcia, Mark (5 January 2023). "About the Space Station: Facts and Figures". NASA. Archived from the original on 6 February 2023. Retrieved 13 January 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e Peat, Chris (21 May 2021). "ISS – Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Live Space Station Tracking Map". NASA. Retrieved 2 May 2024.
  7. ^ Holman, Joseph (12 October 2022). "ISS (ZARYA)". Satellite Tracking. Retrieved 12 October 2022.
  8. ^ a b "ARISS TLE". ARISS TLE. 16 August 2023. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference OnOrbit was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ "STS-132 Press Kit" (PDF). NASA. 7 May 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 October 2023. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  11. ^ "STS-133 FD 04 Execute Package" (PDF). NASA. 27 February 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 November 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  12. ^ NASA (23 May 2023). "ISS". NASA.
  13. ^ "NASA – Higher Altitude Improves Station's Fuel Economy". 14 February 2019. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Current ISS Tracking data". NASA. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 25 December 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2009. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  15. ^ "International Space Station Visitors by Country - NASA". Retrieved 19 March 2023.

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