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International Space Station

About the ISS: Gateway to Discovery

The permanently crewed on-orbit laboratory enables scientific research supporting innovation on Earth and future deep space exploration. From design to launch, 15 countries collaborated to assemble the world's only permanently crewed, orbital facility. The completed research platform houses a crew of six and 150 ongoing experiments across an array of scientific disciplines. Its interior living space is comparable to a five-bedroom home, complete with two bathrooms and exercise accommodations.

Spotlight

Overview

What is it? 

From design to launch, 15 countries collaborated to assemble the world’s only permanently crewed, orbital facility. The completed research platform houses a crew of six and 150 ongoing experiments across an array of scientific disciplines. Its interior living space is comparable to a five-bedroom home, complete with two bathrooms and exercise accommodations. The space station represents a global effort to expand our knowledge while providing a technological test bed to extend our reach throughout the solar system.

What’s next?
It’s all about utilization! A construction site no more, the ISS enables discovery in low Earth orbit and is paramount to our efforts to explore deep space.

Why?
Researchers on the ISS are on the search for answers to a plethora of questions about living things, the limits (and limitlessness) of our physical world, and the secrets of space.

ISS exterior and interior research facilities support fundamental and applied physical, chemical and biological investigations driving discovery benefitting humanity. The microgravity lab has hosted over 1,500 experiments involving scientists from more than 65 countries.

Research

SCIENCE: The ISS is a revolutionary research asset that enables cutting-edge inquiry across an array of disciplines and is the world’s only authentic microgravity facility. Space station research addresses fundamental physical, chemical and biological processes altered in low Earth orbit. ISS exterior space and interior weightless environments unlock profound information driving discovery and commercial applications on Earth. 

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Space station laboratories cater to diverse scientific investigations that include:

Click here for more information about ISS science and experiments.

Are you interested in ISS facilities and research? Check out NASA’s latest comprehensive space station brochure, Research in Space: 2013 and Beyond.

EXPLORATION: Truly a gateway to discovery, the future of the ISS will be defined by exploration pathways and technological innovation. Scientists and engineers will evaluate systems and capabilities needed for missions to deep space destinations while leveraging the unique space environment to support innovation on Earth. The space station is the only facility that allows researchers to investigate the physiological and psychological effects of long duration spaceflight in preparation for missions to the moon, near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and Mars.

Current Mission

Expedition 48

Expedition 48 began June 18, 2016 and ends September 6, 2016. This expedition includes delivery and installation of the first international docking adapter (IDA), continued scientific studies and introduction of a new satellite deployment mechanism. A spacewalk to install the first of two IDAs was successfully completed on August 18, brining ISS one step closer to receiving commercial crew flights.

Read more here.

 

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Celebrate 15 Years On-Orbit

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Did You Know?

How long does it take the International Space Station to orbit Earth?

90 minutes. Traveling 17,500 mph, the ISS orbits the planet every 90 minutes providing unique Earth observation opportunities from space. Space station crew members monitor everything from global environmental systems to natural disasters.

Click To Reveal Answer