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International Space Station - Windows to the Universe
This picture shows the International Space Station. An astronaut on the Space Shuttle took this picture.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA.

International Space Station

There is a large space station circling Earth right now. It is called the International Space Station (ISS for short). Astronauts live and work in the ISS. Sixteen countries, including the United States, are making and using the ISS.

The first part of the ISS was launched in 1998. A bunch more parts have been added since then. The ISS isn't quite finished yet. More parts will be added in the next few years.

The ISS is pretty big. Imagine how much space there is inside of two school busses. That's about how much room there is in the ISS.

Astronauts started living and working in the ISS in 2000. The astronauts do experiments that help us learn how to live in space. They also grow plants and large crystals. The astronauts also study Earth by looking down at it from orbit. Each crew of astronauts stays on the ISS for about six months. After six months, the crew comes back to Earth and another crew takes over.

Last modified May 10, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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