On Monday, the Worldwide Area Station (ISS) marked 25 years because the first module was launched to area.
The Zarya module arrived in low-Earth orbit in November 1998 and was joined by the Unity module lower than a month later.
Throughout 1 / 4 of a century, the orbital outpost has hosted 273 individuals from 21 international locations, with the guests engaged on greater than 3,000 analysis and academic investigations.
To mark the station’s twenty fifth birthday, listed below are 11 FAQss concerning the ISS:
How large is the ISS?
NASA describes it as “bigger than a six-bedroom home.” The ISS really measures 357 ft (108 meters) from end-to-end, which is concerning the dimension of an American soccer subject. It consists of six sleeping quarters, three bogs, a fitness center, and quite a few analysis amenities.
How briskly is the ISS touring?
The area station travels at about 17,500 mph (28,000 kph), orbiting Earth each 90 minutes. This implies the crew aboard the station experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets every single day. A few of these have been captured in wonderful time-lapses.
How lengthy do astronauts keep aboard the station?
Astronauts normally keep for about six months, although a number of come for a shorter time period whereas others keep for much longer. In October 2023, Frank Rubio returned to Earth after spending 371 days in area — the longest time period spent in orbit by a NASA astronaut. His mission was initially scheduled to final for six months however a difficulty together with his spacecraft noticed it prolonged to greater than a yr.
What’s essentially the most variety of individuals to have stayed on the ISS at one time?
The station normally hosts round six individuals, however a few occasions it’s had as many as 13 on board. That is normally resulting from crew changeovers so doesn’t normally final too lengthy.
From the place on the ISS are you able to get the perfect views of Earth?
Because of its seven home windows, the station’s Cupola module presents unparalleled views of Earth. It’s the place astronauts usually go throughout their day without work. Some seize a digicam and document what they see. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, for instance, all the time rigorously researches what a part of the world the ISS shall be passing over at any given time in order that he can get the perfect pictures.
Has the station ever been in any hazard?
Sure. With a lot area junk orbiting Earth, there’s all the time a threat of a chunk of it hitting the ability. It’s out of the way in which of most of it, but when a big piece is noticed coming its method, floor controllers can alter the ability’s orbit to keep away from it. In 2021, the astronauts have been ordered to hunt refuge of their spacecraft for a short while when a cloud of particles was believed to be heading its method. Fortunately, the ISS averted any harm and everybody on board might stick with it as common.
Are you able to see the ISS from Earth?
Sure, and also you don’t want a telescope and even binoculars to see it. You simply have to know when to lookup. NASA has helpfully launched an app to make it straightforward to identify the station because it passes overhead at an altitude of about 250 miles.
How do astronauts use the toilet?
Astronauts all the time say that that is the query that they get requested essentially the most. As you possibly can think about, such a job cannot be carried out within the common method because of the microgravity situations. To make sure a mess-free go to to the toilet, engineers designed a particular contraption that makes use of a suction tube for urine (which is filtered and recycled for ingesting water) and a small area for depositing stable waste. For a more in-depth have a look at how the ISS bathroom works, take a look at this explainer.
Will the ISS keep in orbit for an additional 25 years?
Sadly not. Its growing older design implies that it’s getting more durable and costlier to take care of. The present plan is to proceed working the ISS till 2030. The next yr, NASA and its companions will rigorously decrease the orbital facility to a degree the place a lot of it is going to fritter away because it enters Earth ambiance.
So, will that be it for long-duration stays in area?
Definitely not. NASA is already partnering with personal companies to construct new area stations to hold on from the place the ISS left off. A type of corporations is SpaceX, which is working with Los Angeles-based startup Huge and might turn out to be the primary to launch a brand new module as early as 2025. China additionally has taikonauts staying aboard its personal area station in low-Earth orbit, and NASA has plans to construct a base on the moon for lengthy stays by astronauts.