The International Space Station (ISS) is an observatory, a spacecraft, a laboratory, and perhaps most significantly, it is a home, hosting up to ten people at a time, all moving 240-miles above the surface of Earth. It started in 1998, built and operated by sixteen nations - Russia, the United States of America, Canada, Belgium, Japan, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Brazil, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. It is also a joint consignment between five participating space agencies - NASA (USA), JAXA (Japan), Roscosmos (Russia), CSA (Canada), and ESA (Europe). Inter-governmental agreements and treaties establish the use and ownership of this space state.
The ISS often considered as “Man’s Greatest Achievement”, which represents one of the largest cross-national, as well as peace-making projects of all time. In this ongoing project, different cultures and nations work together in the sidelines of scientific knowledge and innovation. Here is the list of some interesting facts about the International Space Station:
Incredibly Moves Faster
Sixteen times a day, the International Space Station orbits the Earth. It accelerates at 28000 km/h (17500 mph), which is equal to ten times the speed of a bullet on Earth. It rotates at its center of mass at a rate of 4 degrees per minute so that it completes a full rotation once per orbit.
Visible from Earth
It is the third-biggest object in the night sky, which is easily visible from the Earth. To spot the space station, one needs to look for an airplane-like light that quickly moved across the night sky. If you are lucky enough, you can also catch a glance of this space station during dusk and dawn.
Changes in Astronauts
A human body tends to lose bones and muscles in zero gravity, all astronauts living in the space station experience strange or small changes, like calluses on their feet or something else. Hence, they need to exercise at least two hours a day to maintain bodily health.
All astronauts living at the ISS have their personal laptops, and they can even connect to the internet to keep updated about their friends and family, and also to watch live TV. The electrical systems on this space station include eight miles of wire.
Third Biggest Object
After Moon and Venus, the International Space Station is the third-biggest object in the night sky. It is easily visible at the naked eye, and from a distance, it appears like a fast-moving airplane. It is also the only place where one can smell space in real. It is made of hundreds of minor and major components, and the largest manned object ever put into space.
Conducting Pioneering Research
Besides the astronauts who are living in this space station, there are many scientists from different fields who also operate the ISS. They consider the effects of micro gravity on the human body, probing the possibilities for future travel to space, and a wide range of other kinds of significant research, from studying growing crystals to dark matter.
Time Runs Slow
All astronauts return from this space station aged less than they would have on this planet. It happens due to “relative velocity time dilation”, the high-speeds they are traveling indicates that time slows down from them relative to people living on the Earth’s surface. However, it is not an anti-aging trick, but after six months of living on the space station, they are just 0.005 seconds younger than the people living on this planet.
Source of Oxygen
In the International Space Station, oxygen is produced from a process called “electrolysis.” This process of producing oxygen involves using an electrical current generated from the solar panels present in this space station to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
Astronauts’ Eating Habits
All astronauts, living on the ISS, eat three square meals a day. However, when they sit down to take a meal, they don’t sit down as there are no chairs around the eating area. Instead, they simply stabilize themselves and drives. All their foods are dehydrated, canned, or packaged so that it does not require to refrigerate.
There are only two bathrooms on the entire space station. The urine of both the laboratory animals and crewmembers is filtered back to the drinking water supply for the space station. Free liquids and particles can turn hazardous on this station, so drinks come in plastic bags with straws, while foods are eaten on trays.