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International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is described as the greatest international project of all time. It is a partnership between Europe, the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada. The station is a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in low Earth orbit. It flies at approximately 400 km altitude and 28 800 km/h. At this speed, it takes 90 minutes to make a complete orbit around the Earth, providing the astronauts with 16 sunrises and sunsets each day.

The International Space Station photographed by an STS-130 crew member on space shuttle Endeavour in 2010. Photo: NASA.

The almost 400-ton ISS was brought into space piece-by-piece and put together in orbit. The first module was launched in 1998, and the station has been continuously inhabited since November, 2000. It consists of several modules with both living quarters and laboratories, with a pressurized volume comparable to that of a jumbo jet. Normally, the crew consists of six persons.

Selected resources for more information about the ISS: