To begin with The International Space Station (ISS) is a multi-nation project which is the largest single structure humans ever built & put into space. Earlier in 1998, the International Space Station project was begun. It took 14 years to complete its main construction. However, it’s still developing as the new requirements of missions and experiments are arising. Afterwards, it has been continuously occupied since 2nd November 2000.
The Crew of ISS
As of now, 239 individuals from 19 countries have visited the International Space Station including 151 from the US, 48 from Russia, 8 from Canada, 5 from Italy, 4 from France, 3 from Germany, and rest from other countries.
The crew of three people named Chris Cassidy, Anatoly Ivanishin, Ivan Vagner had spent more than 7000hrs. However, on Sept. 2, 2017, Peggy Whitson has set the record for spending time for living and working in space at 665 days.
The ISS is orbiting the earth about every 90 minutes. The overall working space of ISS has 6 sleeping quarters, a 360-degree view bay window, a gym, and 2 bathrooms. To maintain their health & fitness astronauts must workout at least 2 hrs per day. It helps in the mitigation of the loss of muscle and bone mass due to the micro-gravity of space.
Distinctive Design & Construction
The length of the ISS is 357 feet. This is the approximate length of an American football field including its end zones. The overall electrical power system of ISS have wires which have a total length of more than 8 miles. The wingspan of the solar array is as long as the airbus A380 which is the largest passenger aircraft in the world. Since December 1998, more than 200 spacewalks have been conducted for the construction & maintenance of ISS. In summary, 42 assembly flights including 37 of U.S space shuttle & 5 of Russian rockets have been conducted to deliver the main module and other parts of ISS for the construction and assembly.
More than 35000 sensors with on-orbit software observers and maintain the health and safety of the crew as well as the space station. The internal pressurized volume of ISS is as much as of a Boeing 747. Especially designed 50 computers (or more) are controlling the systems of ISS.
The ISS can connect with a maximum of 6 spaceships at a time. Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus, SpaceX’s Dragon, JAXA’s HTV, and the Russian Progress; usually these are the 4 cargo spacecraft which delivers science, cargo, and supplies to ISS. After launching from Earth, a spacecraft can arrive at the space station within 6 hrs.
To begin with, It has the robotic Canadarm-2. Which is 55 foot long, having two end effectors/hands & 7 different joints, used to move entire modules, deploy science experiments. It’s another application is in spacewalking.
There’s an inbuilt water recovery system in ISS which reduces the dependency of the crew on water delivered by a cargo spacecraft around 65 % & from about 1 gallon a day to a third of a gallon. The software code of ground support contains more than 3 million lines. Whereas the flight software code is more Than 1.5 million.
The following are some of the features of ISS.
|Pressurized Module Length||73 meters (167.3 ft)|
|Truss Length||109 meters (357.5 ft)|
|Solar Array Length||73 meters (239.4 ft)|
|Mass||419,725 kg (925,335 lbs)|
|Habitable Volume||388 m3 (13,696 cu ft)|
|Pressurized Volume||916 m3 (32,333 cu ft)|
|With BEAM expanded||932 m3 (32,898 cu ft)|
|Power Generation||8 solar arrays provide 75 to 90 kilowatts of power|