LEARN ABOUT

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, the last pressurised module was fitted in 2011, and the station is expected to be used until 2028. Development and assembly of the station continues, with components scheduled for launch in 2018 and 2019. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays, and other components. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and American Space Shuttles.

 

The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars. The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km (205 and 270 mi) by means of reboost manoeuvres using the engines of the Zvezda module or visiting spacecraft. It completes 15.54 orbits per day.

 

The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. As of January 2018, the American portion of ISS is being funded until 2025.Roscosmos has endorsed the continued operation of ISS through 2024 but has proposed using elements of the Russian Orbital Segment to construct a new Russian space station called OPSEK.

 

The ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US. The station has been continuously occupied for 17 years and 172 days since the arrival of Expedition 1 on 2 November 2000. This is the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit, having surpassed the previous record of 9 years and 357 days held by Mir. The station is serviced by a variety of visiting spacecraft: the Russian Soyuz and Progress, the American Dragon and Cygnus, the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, and formerly the American Space Shuttle and the European Automated Transfer Vehicle. It has been visited by astronauts, cosmonauts and space tourists from 17 different nations.

 

After the American Space Shuttle programme ended in 2011, Soyuz rockets became the only provider of transport for astronauts at the International Space Station, and Dragon became the only provider of bulk cargo return to Earth (called downmass). Soyuz has very limited downmass capability.

 

On 28 March 2015, Russian sources announced that Roscosmos and NASA had agreed to collaborate on the development of a replacement for the current ISS. NASA later issued a guarded statement expressing thanks for Russia's interest in future co-operation in space exploration but fell short of confirming the Russian announcement.

 

THE ISS FROM EARTH

Every so often, you can see the ISS in your night sky. To us on Earth, it looks like a bright star moving quickly above the horizon. Then, just as suddenly as it appears, it disappears. ... Visible to the naked eye, the station is best seen at dawn and dusk, and is the third brightest object in the sky.

 

IS THERE GRAVITY ON THE ISS

Gravity causes every object to pull every other object toward it. Some people think that there is no gravity in space. In fact, a small amount of gravity can be found everywhere in space. Gravity is what holds the moon in orbit around Earth.

 

DOES IT TAKE LONG TO GET TO THE ISS?

A Russian Soyuz capsule usually takes at least two days to rendezvous with the ISS, because of the carefully timed dance of manoeuvres that must take place for a spaceship to safely meet the orbiting laboratory. Using a new launch process, three astronauts have now made the trip in just under 6 hours.

 

HOW BIG IS THE ISS? CROKE PARK

The ISS has 32,333 cubic feet of pressurized volume and weighs 930,000 pounds. The U.S. solar array surface area is 38,400 square feet (.88 acre) – large enough to cover eight basketball courts. The ISS is the same size as Croke Park GAA head quarters in Dublin Ireland.

 

HOW FAST IS THE ISS MOVING

It orbits about 200 miles over the Earth, travelling 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every hour and a half.

 

HOW IS THE ISS POWERED IN SPACE?

The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power needed by the ISS is supplied by this acre of solar panels. Eight miles of wire connects the electrical power system. Altogether, the four sets of arrays are capable of generating 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power more than 40 homes on Earth

 

OXYGEN ON THE ISS

Electrolysis of water (H2O) is the main method to generate oxygen aboard the ISS. Water is split into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2). The oxygen is vented into the breathable cabin air system, known as the Oxygen Generation System, while the explosive hydrogen is vented externally.

 

HOW MUCH DID IS COST TO BUILD THE ISS?

The ISS cost €100 billion to build. It was not Build on earth but in space over time.

 

A SING SONG ON THE ISS

The International Space Station song with I.S.S. Commander Chris Hadfield joins The Barenaked Ladies and the Wexford Gleeks in the first space-to-earth musical collaboration.