This picture shows the International Space Station. An astronaut on the Space Shuttle took this picture in 2002.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy NASA.
International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) is a large space station that orbits
Earth. There are astronauts and cosmonauts living onboard the ISS right now.
The ISS isn't completely finished, though. New sections will be added to the
ISS in the next few years. Sixteen countries, including the United States,
are working together on the ISS.
The first piece of the ISS was launched
in November 1998. Several more pieces
have been added since then. There is about as much room inside the ISS as there
is inside a couple of school busses. The ISS orbits 354 kilometers (220 miles)
The first crew of astronauts and cosmonauts started
living on the ISS in October
2000. The crews do experiments to learn how people and other creatures are
affected by living in space. They also learn how to make things in space, like
larger crystals or rounder ball bearings. The crews also spend time studying
Earth and figuring out what equipment is best to use for long trips in space.
Each crew spends about six months on the ISS before returning to Earth.
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