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
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.
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