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Out Of This World Facts About The International Space Station

NASA

Space, the final frontier, which few have been lucky enough to experience first hand and even fewer have called home.

The International Space Station (ISS) is home to astronauts from all over the world, demonstrating that the global community can come together for science and progress.

Here are some out-of-this-world facts about the ISS that everyone should know.


Let’s talk basics

The International Space Station (ISS) has been orbiting the planet for more than 20 years, since November 2000.

It is the single most expensive object ever built. The cost has been estimated at over $120 billion!

An international crew of between three to six people live and work aboard the ISS while traveling at a speed of five miles per second, orbiting Earth about every 90 minutes.

In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 full orbits of Earth, traversing through 16 sunrises and sunsets.

It’s a small world after all

240 individuals from 19 countries have visited the ISS so far.

But one has been there the longest

Peggy Whitson holds the record for spending the most time living and working in space. She was there for 665 days.

For anyone with 20/20 vision

Thanks to the acre of solar panels that power the ISS, it can actually be observed with the naked eye from Earth as it flies overhead.

Which is pretty amazing because it flies at an average altitude of 248 miles above Earth.

No place like home

Speaking of home-y, the ISS really is.

The living and working space in the station is larger than a six-bedroom house. It has six sleeping quarters, two bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree bay window.

Space takes a toll on your body

Astronauts must exercise for two hours a day to combat the loss of muscle and bone mass that occurs while in space.

It took a lot of work

The largest modules and station pieces were delivered on 42 separate assembly flights.

Since it is huge

The ISS is 357-feet end-to-end, only one yard shy of an American football field including the end zones.

There’s nearly 8 miles of wires making up the electrical system.

That’s longer than the perimeter of Central Park!

So, it takes a lot to power it

More than 50 computers control all the systems on the space station.

And the ISS computers aren’t immune to viruses, in fact they’ve been infected 52 times and counting.

Sniff, sniff

The ISS is likely one of the only places you can actually smell space.

Astronauts have described it as a “metallic-ionization-type smell.”

And, soon we can all smell it

And, for most of us, the ISS has seemed way too far out of reach. Especially if you never got to go to Space Camp. But NASA has announced plans to change all that, and allow regular tourists to actually visit!

The first visits won’t come cheap, likely costing more than a million dollars for the first trip.

But you can’t beat that view!