International Space Station – Gateway to our Unseen Future

The International Space Station has accomplishments that are worth applauding for and they have largely contributed to the welfare of earth and mankind.

The International Space Station (ISS)is an orbiting research laboratory of which the first module was launched in November 1998. It was on January 29th that year, that the agreement for construction of the ISS was signed in Washington. A few months later, Zarya, the first module of the ISS was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Since then, it is circling the globe 16 times per day at a speed of 28,000 km per hour at an altitude of 370 km. The ISS completed a decade of continuous human occupation on November 2nd, 2010. During those 10 years, the ISS has experienced gargantuan growth from one module weighing 20 tons into nine modules weighing a whopping total of 300 tons.

ISS from the outsideThe partner countries of ISS are the United States, Russia, Europe(ESA), Japan, and Canada. It is a combination of three national space station projects – Mir-2 of Russia, European Columbus space stations and NASA’s Freedom that includes the Japanese Kibo laboratory. These projects are supplemented by Canadian robotics. The Kibo and Columbus modules have enhanced the spread and depth of scientific experimentation in ISS. The Cupola, a sightseeing dome into space and the Russian multi-purpose lab are two of the five more modules of the ISS that were completed in 2011.

This international scientific organization brings together international flight crews operations, training, engineering, development facilities, communications networks and the international scientific research community.. It has multiple launch vehicles and globally distributed launch sites,
Did you know that the space station is as long as a Canadian Football field and has living space like a five-bedroom house? It weighs about 861,804 pounds (excluding the visiting vehicles). Wondering how people in space live and sleep? As there is no gravity up there and they are absolutely weightless, they need not lay their beds horizontally like we do on earth. The food is preserved in bulk and water is recycled and used.

ISS inside pictureIn 2003, a catastrophic Space Shuttle Columbia accident in which its 7 passengers lost their life severely hampered the ISS assembly program and strained the crew with excessive workloads, but in spite of hardships, the space station has worked hard to achieve success in all its researches and operations. The crews of ISS have conducted 84 spacewalks and 588 experiments and tasks. Space station research topics include biotechnology, fluid physics, materials science, quantum physics, astronomy, biomedical research, and meteorology.

The International Space Station has many achievements to its credit. The results have witnessed more than 100 science experiments that include everything from bone studies to materials research. Its scientific research accomplishments during its first eight years range from advances in the fight against food poisoning, news ways of delivering medicine to cancer cells and even better equipment for future spacecraft. All the achievements have been unique as they came even while the space station was being assembled.

The ISS will continue to provide us all the know-how regarding living and working in space and its other incredible experiences. Some technology developments like Mars mission or Moon settlement can be fascinating for humans on earth. So, can’t wait anymore to go to the space station and orbit the earth? Let’s hope the possibility will arise soon!

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