SpaceX has launched four astronauts to the iconic orbiting station on the first full-fledged taxi flight for NASA by a private space company. NASA head Jim Bridenstine said: “This is another historic moment. “[But] Make no mistake: Vigilance is always required on every flight.”
How fast does the ISS travel?
The International Space Station has been a permanent presence in space since its 1998 launch.
Although impossible to spot during daylight hours, the space station transforms into the third-brightest object against the inky blackness of the night sky.
ISS travels fast enough to orbit Earth every 90 minutes at an approximate altitude of 250 miles (400km).
Travelling at 17,500 mph (28,000 km/h), it means the station covers about the distance it would take to travel from Earth to the Moon and back in only one day.
ISS is officially the largest single structure humans ever put into space.
As of April 2020, 240 space explorers from 19 countries have visited the International Space Station.
Research on the ISS has helped scientists learn about a wide range of subjects, from human health to black holes, he added.
Scientific discoveries made there provide benefits for humanity and enable future space exploration.
Four international space agencies have laboratories on the ISS—NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency.
Close to 3,000 scientific investigations have been conducted on the ISS, resulting in more than 1,800 scientific journal papers published.
In 2005, Congress passed a law designating the ISS as a national laboratory, enabling non-NASA research, including student projects, to be conducted there.
The countries most commonly participating include the US, with 145 astronauts and Russia with 46 cosmonauts.
Astronaut time and research time on the space station is allocated to space agencies according to the amount of money or resources contributed, including modules and cutting-edge robotics.
The ISS includes contributions from 15 nations. NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia) and the European Space Agency are the major partners of the space station who contribute most of the funding; the other partners are the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
Current plans call for the space station to be operated through at least 2024, with the partners discussing a possible extension until 2028.
Afterward, plans for the space station are not clearly laid out: options include for it to taken out of orbit, or recycled for future space stations.
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Space records held by the ISS:
The International Space Station has achieved numerous notable cosmic milestones.
Most consecutive days in space by an American: 340 days, which happened when Scott Kelly took part in a one-year mission to the International Space Station in 2015-16.
NASA conducted a comprehensive suite of experiments including the famous “twin study” with Kelly and his Earth-bound former astronaut twin, Mark.
Longest single spaceflight by a woman: 289 days, during American astronaut Peggy Whitson’s 2016-17 mission aboard the space station.
Most total time spent in space by a woman: Again, Peggy Whitson, who racked up most of her 665 days in space on the ISS.
Most women in space at once: This happened in April 2010 when women from two spaceflight missions met at the ISS. This included Tracy Caldwell Dyson (who flew on a Soyuz spacecraft for a long-duration mission) and NASA astronauts Stephanie Wilson and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger and Japan’s Naoko Yamazaki, who arrived aboard the space shuttle Discovery on its brief STS-131 mission.
Biggest space gathering: 13 people, during NASA’s STS-127 shuttle mission aboard Endeavour in 2009.
Longest single spacewalk: Eight hours and 56 minutes during STS-102, for an ISS construction mission in 2001 – NASA astronauts Jim Voss and Susan Helms participated.
Longest Russian spacewalk: 8 hours and 13 minutes during Expedition 54, to repair an ISS antenna. Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov participated.
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