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International Space Station Facts

Habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit

  • It is the ninth space station to be inhabited.
  • The station is operated by expedition crews, and has been continuously occupied for 11 years and 51 days having exceeded the previous record of 3,644 days, held by Mir, in 2010.
  • The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies, the American NASA, the Russian RKA, the Japanese JAXA, the European ESA, and the Canadian CSA.
  • The station is divided into two sections, the Russian orbital segment (ROS) and the United States orbital segment.
  • Like many artificial satellites, the station can be seen from Earth with the naked eye.
  • The ISS can be visible before sunrise or after sunset to observers on the ground as a slow moving, bright, white dot, slowly crossing the sky in 2 to 5 minutes.
  • China is not an ISS partner, and no Chinese nationals have been aboard.
  • Double-sided solar, or Photovoltaic arrays, provide electrical power for the ISS.
  • The ISS does not feature a shower, although it was planned as part of the now cancelled Habitation Module.
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International Space Station

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