All About Space Stations

All About Space Stations

The Space Station is a manned satellite.

The International Space Station is the largest manned object ever sent into Space.

It is a large spacecraft that orbits the Earth at a distance of about 400 km (250 miles).

Gravity is what holds the International Space Station as it orbits around Earth.

As the ISS orbits Earth at a distance of just 400 km, it regularly needs a boost to stop it dropping back down to Earth, due to the atmospheric drag. This is provided by both, its on-board thrusters and by the visiting international cargo vehicles, which boost the station’s altitude.

It serves as a science laboratory and a home to crews of astronauts and cosmonauts.

The International Space Station is powered by solar energy.

The first Space Station of any kind was launched into orbit by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971, called the Salyut 1. Unfortunately, after a 23 day stay, the three Soviet cosmonauts started their journey home.  As they approached Earth, air escaped from their capsule and they sadly lost their battle for life before it had landed. They had tragically suffocated, and the reason is because at that time, it was not compulsory for Soyuz cosmonauts to wear pressure suits. Pressure suits would have saved their lives.

In 1973, the United States launched its first Space Station, Skylab into orbit. Three crews visited Skylab between 1973 and 1974, staying for 28, 59, and 84 days at a time. After these visits, Skylab was left to decay, due to funding. In July 1979, Skylab reentered Earth’s atmosphere and fell back to Earth, finding its way into the Indian Ocean, while some debris was also found in a sparsely populated area of  Western Australia.

In 1986, the Russians launched the Mir Space Station, which orbited Earth for 15 years. Mir was home to space travelers from many countries. It was a huge success, hosting more than 23,000 scientific experiments.

The success and experience gained in the creation of the Mir Space Station would later be used to develop the International Space Station (ISS).

Mir was designed only to last five years in orbit, but lasted three times its lifespan. After its 15 years of operation, Mir fell back to Earth, splashing into the Pacific Ocean.

The first part of the International Space Station was launched by a Russian rocket in 1998. Two years later, after more modules were added, it was ready for crew.

Every module in the ISS has a planned lifetime of 10 years, although they all have an ongoing program of maintenance which should keep them going for much longer.

The ISS has a wastewater recycling system on board. Any water it can access, whether it comes from recycled shower water, residue from hand washing, people’s breath, astronauts sweat and even urine is recycled to make drinkable water.

Presently, there are two Space Stations in orbit, the International Space Station (ISS) and Tiangong-2 of China. The ISS is manned all the time, unlike Tiangong-2.

The ISS is being built up in orbit by 15 countries. They consist of Canada, Japan, Russia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The ISS orbits Earth in about 90 minutes, so in a 24 hour day, it actually orbits Earth approximately 16 times.

When completed in 2011, the ISS’s dimensions were 108.5 meters by 72.8 meters.

A trip from Earth to the International Space Station takes up to two days.

The solar energy on the ISS is necessary to power 6 laboratories and all the living space on board.

The crew and supplies are brought to the ISS by a space vehicle called the Soyuz. The Russian rocket launches from Baikonur, in Kazakhstan.

A rocket is what launches both people and objects into space.

The ISS can carry up to 6 crew members, it has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360 degrees view bay window.

The ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2nd, 2000.

The cost to build and maintain the ISS so far is at around 100 billion dollars.

Astronauts on the ISS conduct scientific experiments and observe Earth’s weather, while also learning to live and work for long periods in space. It will also help in the future to live on the Moon and Mars.

The ISS can be seen from over 6,500 locations on Earth. It is most visible in the sky at dawn and dusk.

The ISS missions normally last about six months, although NASA astronaut Mike Lopez Alegria’s mission was the longest, lasting 215 days.

The crew in the ISS have their own cabins. When they need a nap they strap their sleeping bags to walls or ceilings so they don’t float around .

The first astronaut to tweet from space was Mike Massimino in May 20

So far 230 individuals from 18 different countries have visited the International Space Station.