Updated ISS Logo

Updated Logo

I. The International Space Station

The International Space Station is the world's largest cumulative Space project. The ISS is basically an artificial satellite that can hold human personnel in it and is in a low orbit around the earth. Like most satellites it can be seen from earth with the naked eye. This project was officially started in 1998 when they sent the first component of the ISS into orbit. This project, that will never be finished, will help us in many ways. The ISS is led by the United States but there are 28 nations in all that have helped with this project, each doing something unique to improve the Station for the better.

The International Space Station was intended to be a laboratory, observatory, and a factory in space. It was also built to provide transportation. maintenance and act as a staging base for future missions to the moon, mars, and asteroids.

II. Facts

i. Quick Facts

  • ISS is still being modified and changed to this day.
  • The ISS measures 357 feet end-to-end
  • Solar Array Length: 239.4 feet (73 meters)
  • Mass: 925,335 pounds (419,725 kilograms)
  • Habitable Volume: 13,696 cubic feet (388 cubic meters) not including visiting vehicles
  • Crew size - up to 7
  • Laboratories - 6
  • November 2, 2000-first humans lived on ISS
  • There is an ISS LEGO assembly kit.
  • The Space Station orbits 254 miles above the Earth, at max speeds of 17,150 mph
  • It completes 15.7 orbits a day.
  • It takes 92 min and 26 seconds for the ISS to complete 1 orbit.

ii. Ten Surprising Facts

1- The Space Station is the largest manned object ever sent into space, encompassing 43,000 cubic feet of living and working space - the equivalent of two Boeing 747's

2 - Assembling the Space Station will require 45 launches - 36 from the United States and nine from Russia - and 1,705 hours of space walks, which is double the number of hours U.S. astronauts have walked in space since the beginning of the space program.

3 - When fully constructed, the Space Station will be visible to more than 90 percent of the world's population.

4 - Humans need a little less sleep in space because our bodies do very little work in a micro gravity environment. It takes no effort at all to raise an arm, hold your head up, or move a bulky object.

5 - The Space Station consists of 70 separate major components and hundreds of minor ones, all of which will be assembled for the first time in space.

6 - Astronauts aboard the Space Station will spend more time working on experiments than anything else. Many projects require teamwork, so astronauts frequently work in pairs.

7 - The Space Station circles the Earth every 90 minutes, and looks down on 85 percent of the populated areas.

8 - The human body tends to lose muscle and bone mass rapidly in space. To fight this loss, at least two hours of strenuous exercise is built into every astronaut's daily schedule on the Space Station.

9 - The construction of the Space Station is a collaboration of 100,000 people, hundreds of companies, and sixteen nations spread over four continents, among them the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

10 - The Space Station is the most expensive single object ever built. The United States' participation has been estimated at $96 billion - a figure that nearly equals the combined cost of all of the Apollo missions to the moon.

III. Construction/Basic Purpose/Uses

The main mission of the International Space Station is to be able to have long term space exploration and to benefit Earth in any way, shape or form.

Before NASA started to build the ISS they scaled down there space station in the 7th redesign of the ISS in the last 9 years. They scaled it down because it cost too much for the budget that President Clinton gave them.

The ISS has 6 state-of-the-art laboratories and will provide research that is hoping to make advancements in medicine, technology, and science. It is more capable than any other space station and is four times larger. The ISS will also teach humans how to work "off planet." It will also help us learn what adjustments need to be made before we send astronauts to Mars and beyond. It will also allow for research in things such as life support systems that will be needed for future space exploration.

All modules that were attached to the ISS were delivered by space shuttle except for the Russian modules. As of June 5, 2011 they have added 159 components.

The construction of the ISS took more than just the US. It had multiple contributors and allies in buliding this satellite. Some of the nations that have made some big contributions are Canada, Japan, Russia, Italy, and Brazil. All of these nations have made the ISS what it is today and without them it would not be as successful as it has been.

IV. What Lead to the International Space Station

i. Technology

ii. Previous missions

V. Contributors

These pictures show what each country has contributed to the International Space Station.


i. -US- The United States has the responsibility for developing and operating major elements and systems for station. Some of the U.S. elements include three connecting nodes; a laboratory module; truss segments; four solar arrays; a habitation module; three mating adapters; a cupola; an non-pressurized logistics carrier and a centrifuge module. The systems being developed by the U.S. include thermal control; life support; guidance, navigation and control; data handling; power systems; communications and tracking; ground operations facilities and launch-site processing facilities.

ii. -Canada-

H in canada 03

Canada's contribution to the International Space Station is the Mobile Servicing System (MSS), the external robotic system that is key to the successful assembly of the Space Station, the maintenance of its external systems, astronaut EVA support, and the servicing of external science payloads. Without it, the astronauts could not work from within the space station.

The MSS ground segment that supports MSS operations, training, sustaining engineering, and logistics activities is reaching maturity. Located in Longueuil, Quebec, the MSS Engineering Support Center and the MSS Sustaining Engineering Facility are providing real-time support for on-orbit operations, and a Canadian Payloads Telescience Operations Center is now in place. Mission Controllers, astronauts and cosmonauts from all Space Station Partners continue to receive training at the Canadian Space Agency. The Remote Multi Purpose Room, one element of the MSS Operations Complex, will be ready to assume backroom support in 2002.

Canada has completed work on identifying its Space Station utilization activities for the period 2000 through 2004. Also during the past twelve months the CSA drafted and is proceeding with the approval of a Canadian Space Station Commercialization Policy.

Canadian astronauts have now participated in three ISS assembly missions - Julie Payette on STS-96, Marc Garneau on STS-97, and Chris Hadfield on STS-100 in April 2001 during which he performed Canada's first EVA and the successful installation of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System.

iii. European Space Agency

640px-Columbus module - cropped

The European Space Agency is responsible for two elements of the International Space Station: the European Columbus Laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicle. The European Columbus Laboratory focuses on projects on fluid physics, life sciences, and material sciences.The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) can boost the height of the Station, thus, reducing the drag from the Earth's Atmosphere.

iv. Japan

640px-Japanese Experiment Module exterior - cropped

In October 2001, Japan unveiled its contribution to the ISS, which is a three part research module. Called "Kibo" meaning hope, it is the only Asian contribution to the ISS. It was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in three separate shots beginning in 2008. The research facility, which looks like a bus-sized tin can with an auto oil filter stuck on one side, has room for four astronauts to conduct experiments inside a pressurized cabin.

v. Italy

Are contributing some equipment, such as the Window Oberservational Research Facility, to the station through agreements with the Unites States.

vi. Russia

To date Russia has launched three elements - Zarya Control Module, also known by the technical term Functional Cargo Block (U.S.-funded module), Zvezda Service Module and Pirs Docking Compartment. The service module is a core element of the ISS, which makes possible manned missions to the Station in 2000.

VI. Major Modules

According to international agreements the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and American Space Shuttles are used to provide crew exchange. On station assembly phase functions of the crew rescue and urgent return are performed by Soyuz spacecraft, cargo and propellant are delivered by Space Shuttles and Progress automated cargo spacecraft. Now the Russian party performs all the work necessary to ensure ISS operation because of the Columbia disaster and suspension of Shuttle missions. Having undertaken the international obligations Russia intends to fulfill them in spite of existing financial difficulties. By force of these circumstances further development of the Russian segment (RS) occurs more slowly than had been expected.

Nevertheless the RS development is the major guideline of Russia. This segment should comply with prescribed characteristics stated in the international agreements and meet Russian requirements in space exploration. The assembly of Russian full-functional segment allows our country to participate in the ISS project on parity basis and attract overseas partners for performing joint investigations and experiments, including commercial ones.

At present the simplified RS configuration is supposed to be deployed. This configuration meets all the above mentioned requirements and envisages the manufacture and launching of three additional Russian modules.

In the first place, a multipurpose laboratory is to be docked to Zarya nadir docking node. In the second place, the Russian science power module should be docked to the Russian Segment to avoid power deficiency and supply experimental equipment with energy.

Finally, the next module to be docked to the ISS is a multi-purpose research module, which will be used for experimental equipment accommodation and research program implementation.

i. Zarya


Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB) was the first component of the International Space Station. This module was designed and built at M.V.Khrunichev enterprise (Russia) according to contract, concluded with Boeing Company, the general contractor of the ISS program. The ISS in-orbit assembly began with this module. Initially the FGB provided the control of mated module configuration flight, electric power supply, communication, fuel receiving, storage, and transfer. The pressurized module was launched on the Russian Proton-K rocket on November 20, 1998.

Zarya's charactics:

Oribal Mass - 20,040kg
Length - 12,990mm
Maximum Diameter - 4,100mm
Pressurized Modules Volume - 71.5m^3
Solar Arrays Span - 24,400mm
Photocell Area - 28m^2
Power Supply Average Capacity - 3 kW/day
Propellant Mass - 3,800kg
Lifetime - ~15 years

Zarya Hardware Elements

Manipulator node
Gas tanks
Active docking node
Earth orientation devices
Propellant tanks
Solar arrays
Passive docking node
Docking compartments
Jet engines (orbital maneuvering engines (OME), RCS jets and vernier RCS thrusters).

Zarya Layout

Zarya incorporates a cargo instrumentation module (PGO) and pressurized adapter (GA), which accommodates onboard systems, used for mechanical docking with the other ISS elements and spacecraft arrived. The pressurized adapter is separated from the cargo instrumentation module by a spherical bulkhead equipped with a hatch (800 mm in diameter). The cargo instrumentation module has a pressurized volume of 64.5 cubic meters, the pressurized adapter - of 7 cubic meters. The whole inside of PGO and GA is divided into instrumentation and habitable zones. In the instrumentation zone there are onboard system units. The habitable zone is intended for crew performance. There are elements of onboard complex control and monitor systems and elements of caution and warning system in it. PGO has three functional blocks: PGO-2 is a conical section of Zarya FGB, PGO-3 is a cylindrical section adjoining to the pressurized adapter, PGO-1 is also a cylindrical section between PGO-2 and PGO-3.

Zarya Major Systems

Zarya propellent system is intended for storage of propellant components and supply engines with propellant. The propellant system incorporates two subsystems: low-pressure and high-pressure. The low-pressure subsystem is intended for propellant storage and high-thrust engines propellant supply. The high-pressure subsystem is intended for propellant storage and low-thrust engines propellant supply. Fuel and oxidizer are stored in 16 tanks (8 tanks for each propellant component). Total propellant mass equals 6,100 kg. Zarya is launched with partially fueled tanks containing 3,800 kg of propellant. The tanks are refueled in flight by cargo spaceships through hydraulic connectors of docking assemblies. Such connectors are installed on the lower docking node, which is fixed on the pressurized adapter and also on the docking adapter of the pressurized equipment bay.

Zarya power supply system provides DC power supply of all consumers both in FGB and American Segment at the initial stage of the ISS assembly and also receives power quotient, generated by the American Segment and service module, and transmits it to the Russian Segment at the later stages. The primary power sources of the module are solar arrays. They consist of two panels. The photovoltaic converter area of each panel makes up 28 square meters. Photoelectric cells are protected by a transparent cover made of glass and their top surfaces are faced in one direction. 90% of solar energy is collected by the surface of the arrays directed to the Sun and 10% - by the reverse side, which makes it possible to use ground-reflected sunlight. Solar arrays deployment mechanism permits to stow and deploy them more than once. In case of solar panel’s electric drive failure the solar arrays can be stowed and deployed by hand during EVA.

Zarya auxiliary support system ensures FGB operation during its delivery to orbit, when it flies undocked and partially when it is attached to other modules of the Station. Auxiliary Support System provides the module operation during its injection on orbit, autonomous flight, and partially when it is attached to other ISS modules. Auxiliary Support Systems include: control system, propulsion system, propellant feed and transfer system, onboard complex control system, Komparus command and measurement system, BR-9TsU-8 radio telemetry system, Sirius-4 radio telemetry system, power supply system, solar arrays orientation system, thermal conditioning system, firefighting system, and Kurs-A active radio system

Zarya station-related system is intended to ensure operation of the FGB as part of the ISS. Station-Related Systems are as follows: docking system, integration system, air revitalization system, television system,telephoning system,data collection system, onboard computer system,rendezvous and docking control eguipment, and Kurs-P passive radio system.

ii. Columbus

250px-Columbus Illustration

The Columbus labratory is the biggest contribution that the ESA had made to the ISS. Due to this contribution the ISS crew would be able to do thousands of experiments.

Columbus payload Racks

Biol-cov l,1
The Columbus laboratory was able to hold 10 of these payload racks. Each rack was about the size of a telephone booth. Each contained its own independent laboratory. It also contained its own power supply and cooling systems. Each also was capable of video links and data links that sent information back the scientist down hear on earth.

Some of the individual payload racks.

Bio lab- supported experiments on micro-organisms cells and even small plants

(EPM)- a set of experiments that will be used to investigate the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. Experiment results will also contribute to an increased understanding of age-related bone loss, balance disorders and other ailments back on Earth

(FSL)- will accommodate experiments in the strange behavior of weightless liquids. These too, could bring far-reaching benefits on Earth: better ways to clean up oil spills, for example, and even improved manufacture of optical lenses.

(EDR) - is a modular and flexible experiment carrier system for a large variety of scientific disciplines, providing basic accommodation and resources for experiment modules housed within standardized drawers and lockers.

(ETC) - accommodates items for transport and stowage. In orbit ETC will serve as a workbench and stowage facility

iii. List of Modules with length and launch year

Module Length Launched

Zarya 12.8 m (42 ft) 1998

Unity 5.5 m (18 ft) 1998

Zvezda 13.1 m (43 ft) 2000

Z1 Truss 4.6 m (15 ft) 2000

P6 Truss 18.3 m (60 ft) 2000

Solar Array 73.2 m (240 ft) 2000

Destiny 8.5 m (28 ft) 2001

Canadarm 2 16.9 m (56 ft) 2001

Quest Airlock 5.5 m (18 ft) 2001

Pirs Airlock 4.9 m (16 ft) 2001

S0 Truss/Mobile

Transporter 13.4 m (44 ft) 2001

Mobile Base 5.8 m (19 ft) 2002

S1 Truss 13.7 m (45 ft) 2002

P1 Truss 13.7 m (45 ft) 2002

P3/P4 Truss 13.7 m (45 ft) 2006

P5 Truss 3.3 m (15 ft) 2006

S3/S4 Truss 13.7 m (45 ft) 2007

S5 Truss 3.3 m (15 ft) 2007

Node 2 6.1 m (21 ft) 2007

Columbus 6.9 m (22.6 ft) 2008

Experiment Logistics

Module (ELM)

Pressurized Section (PS) 3.9 m (12 ft)

Dextre 3.5 m (11.4 ft) 2008

Kibo 11.2 m (36.7 ft) 2008

S6 Truss 13.7 m (45 ft) 2008

ELM Exposed Section 4.9 m (16.1 ft) 2008

Kibo Exposed Facility 5.6 m (18.4 ft) 2008

Russian Multi-Purpose

Laboratory Module 12.8 m (42 ft)

Node 3 6.1 m (21 ft) 2010

Cupola 3 m (9.8 ft) 2010

Russian Research

Module 12.8 m (42 ft)

Soyuz(spacecraft) 7 m (22.9 ft) Ongoing

Progress(spacecraft) 7.4 m (24 ft) Ongoing

Inflatable Space Station

Inflatable habitats or expandable habitats are pressurized structures capable of supporting life in outer space whose internal volume increases after launch. They have frequently been proposed for use in space applications to provide a greater volume of living space for a given mass.

The first formal design and manufacture of an inflatable space habitat was in 1961 with a space station design produced by Goodyear (although this design was never flown).[1] A proposal released in 1989 by Johnson Space Center's Man Systems Division outlined a 16 metres (52 ft) diameter spherical habitat lunar outpost which was partially buried in the lunar surface.

An inflatable module called TransHab (a portmanteau of Trans Habitation) was proposed for the International Space Station,[2] and later the private company Bigelow Aerospace revived the design for use in a number of potential civil and commercial applications

Testing Inflatable SS

1926 Inflatable SS Concept

VII. Whats going on at the ISS now? (April 2016)

The International Space Station crew is getting the orbital laboratory ready this week for a wide variety of advanced space science. The station also received a new module that will be expanded in late May for two years of habitability tests. The Expedition 47 crew members are starting the work week setting up hardware for a pair of experiments exploring space physics and human research. A specialized microscope was configured for a study researching how particles behave at nano-scales potentially improving drug delivery and filtration technologies. After hardware checkouts and tests, the crew will also study the linkage between DNA alterations and weakened immune systems caused by long-term space missions.

VIII. The Future of ISS

The future of The International Space Station is headed down a couple of separate paths.One path the ISS is heading down is the expansion of lower orbit stations. China has stated the hopes of launching and starting a new ISS by the year 2020 that could relieve some of the pressures of the Current ISS. The other path the ISS is faced with is that some countries are putting other projects first. This The ISS has not added many new editions in the recent years. While research in the ISS is still comincing, space companies such as N.A.S.A. have been more focused on having manned missions to mars as well as other deeper space missions.

Interesting Links

ISS Traker

Virtual Tour

ISS TimeLine (1987-2000)

Views from Earth

Step-by-Step Construction

Where is it now?

In the News

=== Space Shuttle Discovery Set for Wednesday Flight to ISS
By Victor Beattie
09 March 2009

The U.S. space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida late Wednesday, the first of five shuttle flights planned for this year to the International Space Station. === Space shuttle Discovery Discovery's mission this week, which has been delayed for about a month so engineers could repair faulty fuel pressure valves, will carry a crew of seven astronauts - including one from Japan - to install the fourth and last pair of solar power panels to the space station.

STS-119 will be the 28th shuttle mission to the International Space Station. It will deliver the final set of solar arrays needed to complete the station's electricity-generating solar panels to support an expanded crew of six people.

Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach told reporters recently he is happy about the launch.

"I'll just tell you, the mood is very, very upbeat," Leinbach said. "Compared to a couple of weeks ago, when we didn't know exactly where we were going to get with the launch date, now we have one and everyone feels really good. Team Discovery is ready to execute. And I feel really good about their attempt [to lift off] Wednesday night."

The 14-day mission was originally set for launch on February 12. However, a number of delays were imposed, so NASA engineers could replace Discovery's three fuel pressure valves, which control the flow of hydrogen from the shuttle's three main engines.

During a shuttle launch last November, one of three valves cracked - raising concerns about the safety of future missions.

Shuttle program manager John Shannon says all three valves were examined using a new technique to determine whether normal use during previous missions had caused the problem.

"And two of them [the valves] were clean, and one of them showed two cracks in it," Shannon said. "And that was a little bit of a surprise to us. And so we screened the three valves that we had taken off of Discovery that had the 12 flights apiece. And the first one we looked at had a crack in it. And the next two did not have cracks in them. So we were able to put together with a very high confidence method a set of three valves and a flight spread that we could put in Discovery and have a lot of confidence that they did not have initiating cracks."

Shannon says that even if cracks do occur during liftoff, any damage that might occur would not affect the mission.

Discovery's crew is scheduled to install a set of solar arrays on the International Space Station - including two movable solar wings - that will track the sun for power. The four sets of panels will generate 84-to-120 kilowatts of electricity - enough to provide power for more than 40 average U.S. homes. The newest set of solar arrays will provide power for additional scientific experiments and enable the station to expand its permanent crew to as many as six.

The shuttle crew is scheduled to conduct as many as four spacewalks to install the solar arrays and advance further construction, possibly installing a Global Positioning System antenna to help guide a Japanese-built transfer vehicle to the station later in the year.

Among the seven-person Discovery crew is Japanese astronaut, Koichi Wakata, - a 45-year old Japan airlines aerospace engineer who will become the first Japanese resident onboard the space station, replacing American Sandy Magnus.

NASA hopes to complete the space station next year and retire its shuttle fleet after nearly 30 years of service.

Future of the International Space Station May Depend on Commercial Investors

By: Kenny Walter

Date:Thu, 07/20/2017

The future of the International Space Station (ISS) may lie in the hands of companies looking to invest in new opportunities in the lower Earth orbit.

Al DeLuna, executive vice president of the American Astronautical Society and principal consultant of ATDL, said during a panel on commercial space at the ISS R&D Conference 2017 that additional help from the private industry is necessary for ISS to remain commercially viable.

“For ISS to remain commercially viable and for other lower orbit platforms like ISS to be viable we have to expand the use of the ISS,” DeLuna said during the July 20 panel.  “We’ve got folks trying to do this but in the past they’ve been generally on two ends of the spectrum—self-funded entrepreneurs and smaller players who are dependent on investments from venture capitalists and the government.

“We needed this middle ground that could bring in their own money and develop their own systems and then sell them to customers,” he added.

Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager of the Advanced Programs division at Orbital ATK, said during the panel that the company’s Cygnus spacecraft was originally started to assist ISS, but quickly grew into something more, showcasing the possibilities.

“What we’ve come up with is a space craft that not only delivers cargo to the spacecraft but had been evolving into more of a science platform and a multiuse space craft,” he said. “What we’ve learned over time is that more is needed and we’ve been able to evolve Cygnus into something that can do more than just deliver the cargo.

“Our primary mission is delivering cargo but we are continuing to look at how to expand the capability of Cygnus.”

DeMauro explained that Cygnus currently supports payloads in lower orbit and deploys payloads off the spacecraft. The advancements are a result of internal investment from ATK, as well as investments from NASA.  

Along with taking cargo up to lower orbit earth, there is a push to take passengers as well.

“The next step is where Boeing sits and that is on the threshold of taking passengers back and forth, with NASA being our flagship customer but we certainly hope that the business does not stop there,” Chris Ferguson, CST-100 Director of Crew and Mission Operations at Boeing said.

According to Ferguson, it could be possible for Boeing to provide transportation to foreign governments who want to utilize ISS and other spacecrafts, but lack the infrastructure to do it themselves. He also said it would be possible to bring tourists.

Ferguson said Boeing has two test missions and six service missions scheduled through 2024.

Jeffrey Manber, CEO of Nanoracks said he’d like to view the government as more of a customer for his company,  which markets hardware and services aboard ISS.

“We hope that evolution continues and the next step for us is to see the government become more and more as a customer, just a plan customer and allowing the private sector to truly have the imagination and the freedom that in every other sector we enjoy in our relations with the government,” he said. “We are beginning to see a very interesting market for satellite deployment from space stations.

“I happen to believe that over the next {five-to-seven] years were are going to be very disruptive for the large vehicle market and the desire to launch on demand,” he added.

Also speaking during the panel were Steven Lindsey, Vice President Space Exploration Systems, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Carlo Mirra, Director, Space Products Sales, Airbus Defence & Space, TMST, Director, Space Products Sales.


640px-STS-135 final flyaround of ISS 1

511px-STS-135 final flyaround of ISS 2

640px-S134e010665 - rotated and darkend

512px-ISS and Endeavour seen from the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft 28

Iss atlantis sun