Space Station

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proposed that the United States, in cooperation with other countries, build a permanently inhabited space station. Reagan envisioned a station that would have government and industry support. The U.S. forged a cooperative effort with 14 other countries (Canada, Japan, Brazil, and the European Space Agency -- United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden). During the planning of the ISS and after the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States invited Russia to cooperate in the ISS in 1993; this brought the number of participating countries to 16. NASA is taking the lead in coordinating the ISS's construction.

ISS Facts

Length: 290 ft (88m)
Width: 356 ft (109 m)
Height: 143 ft (44 m)
Volume: 46,000 ft3 (1300 m3); living space will be about the cabin size of two 747 jets
Mass: 1,000,000 lb (454 metric tons)
Orbit: 217 to 285 miles (362 to 476 km), inclined 51.6 degrees relative to the equator

The assembly of the ISS in orbit began in 1998. The ISS has more than 100 components and will require 44 spaceflights by at least three space vehicles (space shuttle, Soyuz and Russian Proton rocket) to deliver the components into orbit. One-hundred sixty spacewalks, totaling 1,920 man-hours, will be required to assemble and maintain the ISS, which is scheduled for completion in 2010 and will have an anticipated life of 10 years at a projected total cost of $35 to $37 billion. When completed, the ISS will be able to house up to seven astronauts. It will have the following major components:

? Control Module (Zarya) or Functional Cargo Block - contains propulsion (two rocket engines), command and control systems
? Nodes (three) - connect major portions of the ISS
? Service Module (Zvezda) - contains living quarters and life support for early parts of the ISS, docking ports for Progress resupply ships and rocket engines for attitude control and re-boost
? Scientific Laboratories (six) - contain scientific equipment and a robotic arm to move payload on an outside platform
? Laboratory Module - shirt-sleeve environment facility for research on microgravity, life sciences, Earth sciences and space sciences
? Truss - long, tower-like spine for attaching modules, payloads and systems equipment
? Mobile Servicing System - robotic system that will move along the truss; equipped with remote arm for assembly and maintenance activities
? Transfer Vehicles - a Soyuz capsule and a Crew Return Vehicle (X-38) for emergency evacuation
? Electrical Power System - solar panels and equipment for generating, storing, managing and distributing electrical power

ISS in orbit showing (top to bottom) Node-1, Control Module, Service Module and a Progress supply ship (September 2000).

On October 31, 2000, the first crew of the ISS was launched from Russia. The three-member crew spent almost five months aboard the ISS, activating systems, and conducting experiments.
To sustain a permanent environment in outer space where people can live and work, the ISS must be able to provide the following things:

? Life support
? Atmosphere control, supply and recycling
? Water recycling
? Temperature control
? Food supply
? Waste removal
? Fire protection
? Propulsion - move the station in orbit
? Communications and tracking - talk with ground-based flight controllers
? Navigation - find its way around
? Electrical power
? Computers - coordinate and handle information
? Resupply - methods of getting new supplies and removing waste
? Emergency escape route
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