The International Space Stations (ISS) is one of the greatest human and technological achievements in our history. Space agencies from the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada have come together for a common goal in the name of science and education. It is a symbol of technological excellence and a testament to what we can achieve through collaboration and teamwork. Here are 10 things you may not have known about the International Space Station.
1. The International Space Station marked its 10th anniversary of continuous human occupation on Nov. 2, 2010. Since Expedition 1, which launched Oct. 31, 2000, and docked Nov. 2, the space station has been visited by 196 individuals from eight different countries.
2. The International Space Station can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, and is the largest artificial satellite that has ever orbited Earth.
3. Since the first module, Zarya, launched at 1:40 a.m. EST on Nov. 20, 1998, the ISS has made a total of 68,519 orbits of our home planet, or about 1.7 billion miles (2.7 billion km) on its odometer.
4. As of the Nov. 2 anniversary date there have been 103 launches to the space station: 67 Russian vehicles, 34 space shuttles, one European and one Japanese vehicle. A total of 150 spacewalks have been conducted in support of space station assembly totaling more than 944 hours.
5. The ISS is operated by Expedition crews of six astronauts and cosmonauts, with the station programme maintaining an uninterrupted human presence in space since the launch of Expedition 1 on 31 October 2000, a total of 10 years and 105 days. The programme thus holds the current record for the longest uninterrupted human presence in space, surpassing the previous record of 3,644 days, set aboard Mir.
6. The ISS serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in biology, chemistry, medicine, physiology and physics, as well as astronomical and meteorological observations
7. The space station, including its large solar arrays, spans the area of a U.S. football field, including the end zones, and weighs 827,794 pounds (375,481 kilograms). The complex now has more livable room than a conventional five-bedroom house, and has two bathrooms and a gymnasium.
8. 3.3 million lines of software code on the ground supports 1.8 million lines of flight software code.
9. The entire 55-foot robot arm assembly is capable of lifting 220,000 pounds, which is the weight of a Space Shuttle orbiter.
10. The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power for the ISS is supplied by an acre of solar panels.