The International Space Station is an artificial satellite that has been human occupied by at least one person since October 2000. This month marks its 11 year anniversary. In that time, over 200 unique individuals from dozens of different countries have visited the ISS.
It orbits the Earth at a staggering 17,227 miles per hours or 15.7 times every day, or once every 91 minutes. The ISS has orbited over 1.5 billion miles which would be (pay attention) the distance traveled from Earth to Jupiter at its farthest point away then flying back at its closest (That is, when Earth and Jupiter are at their closest points. The distance between Earth and Jupiter varies greatly because of orbit shape). Its main purpose is to serve as an environment for scientific research in space.
The ISS maintains an orbit between 173 and 286 miles above the Earth’s surface. It is about one football field in length and weighs nearly a million pounds, that is, when it is subjected to the gravity on Earth’s surface. It relies on solar panels for power of which, again, take up the area of about one football field. The internal livable pressurized volume of the ISS is approximately 830 meters cubed or nearly the size of a five bedroom house. There is a gym, two bathrooms and a 360 degree bay window which serves are an area to relax and admire what is undoubtedly a spectacular view.
Now time for the nerdy facts. 3.5 million lines of code in the support center on the ground make it possible for the 2.3 million lines of code on the space station to operate all of the functions on the space station (including 1.5 million lines in the US segment). Apparently the 44 computers in the United States segment only have 1.5 gigabytes of hard drive space, but this might just be the main computers; the rest may have even less.
What else about the ISS interests you? Post a question or a topic and I will address it in the next post along with the real importance of the ISS…stay tuned.
Information source credited to NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/
Photo used courtesy of NASA: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html