International Space Station celebrates 20 years of astronauts onboard

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COURTESY: NASA

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Since Nov. 2, 2000, the International Space Station (SS) has been occupied by astronauts from NASA and other international space agencies. Acting as an orbiting laboratory, the ISS serves as a home for astronauts to conduct experiments for research of various sciences: space science, human physiology, biology, technology, physical science, etc.

Weighing close to 1 million pounds with an internal pressure equal to that of a Boeing 747 airplane, the spacecraft is built to hold up to 13 people. Most expeditions are comprised of 6 astronauts but can run heavy during crew rotations and shuttle visits.

Detailed figure of the International Space Station | COURTESY: NASA

Did you know?

Here are a few fun facts about the ISS you may or may not have known…

  •  The ISS travels at a speed of 5 miles per second, orbiting Earth approximately every 90 minutes (16 orbits per day)
  • 241 individuals from 19 countries have been on the spacecraft
  • Up to 8 space shuttles can be connected to the ISS at one time
  • More than 2,800 experiments have been conducted on the ISS thus far
  • When viewing the ISS from Earth, what you’re seeing is sunlight reflecting off the acre of solar panels on the spacecraft (it looks like a fast-moving plane only much higher)
  • The space station is 357 feet end-to-end, one yard short of the length of a football field (endzones included)
  • +50 computers control the systems on the ISS
  • More than 200 small satellites have been deployed from station since 2013, improving Earth observation photography, internet access and telecommunication services
  • A space shuttle can arrive at the ISS as early as 4 hours after launching from Earth
  • 8 miles of wire connects the electrical power system aboard the space station

For more information about the International Space Station, visit NASA.gov.

To find out when the ISS may be visible in your area, visit SpotTheStation.NASA.gov.

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