The International Space Station is larger than a 5-bedroom house

The International Space Station is larger than a 5-bedroom house... plus 24 more amazing ISS-related facts!

During the past decade, people have been living and working in space around the clock, every single day.  And back on earth, there are people also working around the clock to support the crews of the ISS. 15 nations have come together, setting aside boundaries and differences, to design, assemble, occupy, and conduct research inside and outside of the largest and longest inhabited object to ever orbit the Earth - the International Space Station.

What is the International Space Station you say?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The orbital inclination chosen is to allow American space shuttles launched from Florida to reach the ISS as well as to ensure that Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, (the world's first and largest operational space launch facility in Kazakhstan), may also be safely launched to reach the station.

It is the most complex scientific and technological endeavor ever undertaken. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components (see diagaram below). The ISS components have been launched by American Space Shuttles as well as Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets. Budget constraints led to the merger of three space station projects:  the Russian/Soviet Mir-2, NASA's Freedom including the Japanese Kibō laboratory, and the European Columbus space stations. Canadian robotics supplement these projects.

Expedition 1: First ISS Crew
The station’s first resident crew, Expedition 1, marked the beginning of a permanent international human presence in space, arriving at the station in a Russian Soyuz capsule in November 2000. The International Space Station is the longest continuously populated spacecraft ever to orbit the Earth. Station crews generally stay on orbit for six months at a time. With nine rooms, two toilets, two kitchens and two mini-gyms, the completed space station comfortably accommodates its crews.

The station also provides the first laboratory complex where gravity, a fundamental force on Earth, is virtually eliminated for extended periods. This ability to control the variable of gravity in experiments, and to quickly change the variables of experiments in the same way that laboratories on Earth do, opens up unimaginable research possibilities.



More ISS-related Facts:

The International Space Station's length and width
is about the size of a football field
  1. In September 1993, American Vice-President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced plans for a new space station, which eventually became the International Space Station.
  2. It travels at an average speed of 27,724 kilometres (17,227 mi) per hour, and completes 15.7 orbits per day.
  3. The ISS solar array surface area could cover the U.S. Senate Chamber three times over.
  4. ISS has an internal pressurized volume of 32,333 cubic feet, or equal that of a Boeing 747.
  5. The solar array wingspan (240 feet) is longer than that of a Boeing 777 200/300 model, which is 212 feet.
  6. The space station, including its large solar arrays, spans the area of a U.S. football field, including the end zones, and weighs 861,804 pounds, not including visiting vehicles. The complex now has more livable room than a conventional five-bedroom house, and has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360-degree bay window. 
  7. Fifty-two computers control the systems on the ISS.
  8. More than 115 space flights were conducted on five different types of launch vehicles over the course of the station’s construction.
  9. More than 100 telephone-booth-sized rack facilities can be in the ISS for operating the spacecraft systems and research experiments.
  10. The ISS is almost four times as large as the Russian space station Mir and about five times as large as the U.S. Skylab.
  11. The ISS weighs almost one million pounds (approximately 925,000 pounds). That’s the equivalent of more than 320 automobiles.
  12. 3.3 million lines of software code on the ground support 1.8 million lines of flight software code.
  13. Eight miles of wire connects the electrical power system.
  14. In the International Space Station’s U.S. segment alone, 1.5 million lines of flight software code run on 44 computers communicating via 100 data networks transferring 400,000 signals (e.g. pressure or temperature measurements, valve positions, etc.).
  15. The ISS manages 20 times as many signals as the space shuttle.
  16.  International space station module Cupola
    The image shows the Sahara Desert spread out through
    the array of windows. The Cupola will house controls
    for the station robotics and will be a location where
     crew members can operate the robotic arms
    and monitor other exterior activities.
  17. Main U.S. control computers have 1.5 gigabytes of total main hard drive storage in the U.S. segment compared to modern PCs, which have ~500 gigabyte hard drives.
  18. The entire 55-foot robot arm assembly is capable of lifting 220,000 pounds, which is the weight of a space shuttle orbiter.
  19. The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power for the ISS is supplied by an acre of solar panels.These double-sided solar panels of bifacial cells are more efficient and operate at a lower temperature than single-sided cells commonly used on Earth, by collecting sunlight on one side and light reflected off the Earth on the other.
  20. The large amount of electrical power consumed by the station's systems and experiments is turned almost entirely into heat. The heat which can be dissipated through the walls of the stations modules is insufficient to keep the internal ambient temperature within comfortable, workable limits. Ammonia is continuously pumped through pipework throughout the station to collect heat, and then into external radiators exposed to the cold of space, and back into the station.
  21. The Cupola (as seen above to your left), is a European Space Agency (ESA)-built observatory module of the International Space Station (ISS). Its seven windows are used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of Earth and has been compared to the Millennium Falcon from the motion picture Star Wars.
  22. The atmosphere on board the ISS is similar to the Earth's. Normal air pressure on the ISS is 101.3 kPa (14.7 psi); the same as at sea level on Earth. An Earth-like atmosphere offers benefits for crew comfort, and is much safer than the alternative, a pure oxygen atmosphere, because of the increased risk of a fire such as that responsible for the deaths of the Apollo 1 crew. Earth-like atmospheric conditions have been maintained on all Russian and Soviet spacecraft.
  23. Showers on space stations were introduced in the early 1970s on Skylab and Salyut 3. By Salyut 6, in the early 1980s, the crew complained of the complexity of showering in space, which was a monthly activity. The ISS does not feature a shower; instead, crewmembers wash using a water jet and wet wipes, with soap dispensed from a toothpaste tube-like container. Crews are also provided with rinseless shampoo and edible toothpaste to save water.
  24. Most of the food on board is vacuum sealed in plastic bags. Cans are too heavy and expensive to transport, so there are not as many. The preserved food is generally not held in high regard by the crew, and when combined with the reduced sense of taste in a microgravity environment, a great deal of effort is made to make the food more palatable. More spices are used than in regular cooking, and the crew looks forward to the arrival of any ships from Earth, as they bring fresh fruit and vegetables with them. Care is taken that foods do not create crumbs. Sauces are often used to ensure station equipment is not contaminated.
    The crews of STS-127 and Expedition 20 enjoy a 
    meal inside Unity.
  25. The ISS provides a platform to conduct scientific research that cannot be performed in any other way. While small unmanned spacecraft can provide platforms for zero gravity and exposure to space, space stations offer a long term environment where studies can be performed potentially for decades.









DID YOU KNOW?

The International Space Station, as seen
from Space Shuttle Endeavour in May 2011.
Source
  • The station has been continuously occupied for 12 years and 77 days, having exceeded the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, in 2010.
  • On 25 May 2012, SpaceX, (an American private space transportation company founded in 2002 by former PayPal entrepreneur Elon Musk), became the world's first privately held company to send a cargo load, via the Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station.
  • As of July 2012, there have been 125 launches to the space station since the launch of the first module, Zarya, at 1:40 a.m. EST on Nov. 20, 1998: 81 Russian vehicles, 37 space shuttles, one U.S. commercial vehicle, three European and three Japanese vehicles. The final space shuttle mission July 8-21, 2011, by Atlantis delivered 4.5 tons of supplies in the Raffaello logistics module.
  • Like many artificial satellites, the station can be seen with the naked eye from Earth without any special equipment. The space station looks like a fast-moving plane in the sky, though one with people living and working aboard it more than 200 miles above the ground. It is best viewed on clear nights. Want to know when a spacecraft will be flying over your city? Click here
  • Since Expedition 1, which launched Oct. 31, 2000, and docked Nov. 2, the space station has been visited by 204 individuals and counting.
  • On Nov. 02, 2010, their 10th anniversary, the station’s odometer read more than 1.5 billion statute miles (the equivalent of eight round trips to the Sun), over the course of 57,361 orbits around the Earth. 
  • Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield's solution to cutting his nails on the ISS was to cut it over an air duct which he would later vacuum up (see video below). You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
  • The sunrise appears 16 times a day as the ISS orbits the earth.
  • Sergei Krikalev, member of Expedition 1 and Commander of Expedition 11 has spent more time in space than anyone else, a total of 803 days and 9 hours and 39 minutes. His awards include the Order of Lenin, Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of the Russian Federation, and 4 NASA medals. On 16 August 2005 at 1:44 am EDT he passed the record of 748 days held by Sergei Avdeyev, who had 'time travelled' 1/50th of a second into the future on board MIR. Commander Michael Fincke is the U.S. space endurance record holder with a total of 382 days.
  • Christmas, a seasonal religious and secular celebration, is celebrated each year by the International Space Station crew, their families, and ground-staff. Crew are given time off duty according to their respective culture, religion and ethnicity. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas according to the Julian calendar, whilst the Catholic Church uses the Gregorian calendar so the crew may celebrate Christmas more than once on the station choosing between December 25 or January 6, 7 or 19.
  •    


The ULF6 configuration of the International Space Station following the addition of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and ExPrESS Logistics Carrier 3, launched by the Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-134






Videos


Chris Hadfield - Nail Clipping in Space

Even the most mundane activity such as clipping your nails can be a potential problem...






International Space Station Tour 2012 (HD) ISS Tour











More Reads (PDF Files)








To see a live video from the International Space Station - click here.


Source(s):  NASA, Wikipedia


1 comment:

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