The International Space Station
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The International Space Station (ISS), once completed,
will be the greatest orbiting laboratory available. 

    The ISS is being built by an international partnership of countries and space agencies, each contributing various modules. The partners are USA, Russia, ESA (European Space Agency), Japan and Canada. In addition, Brazil and Italy are contributing equipment through agreements with the USA.
   The ISS is being built in stages. Work began in 1998 to place the first modules of the station into orbit above the Earth. The first components were the Zarya functional and cargo module and the Unity connecting module, which were successfully joined in December 1998.
    Since then, many launches have sent other modules and components to the station. These include the Zvezda service module (Russia), the Destiny laboratory (US) and the Photovoltaic module (US).  The Zarya and Unity modules, shortly after having been joined.

    Ultimately, the station will be the largest object outside the earth made by a human hand. The construction and operation of this space station represent the greatest scientific and technical project ever achieved by global cooperation. Highly qualified engineers and scientists from 15 nations are involved in the construction and are creating a powerful research center in the near-earth orbit for the peaceful use of space.

Yuri Malenchenko on the International Space Satation.  Cosmonaut Yuri  Malenchenko, Expedition 7 mission commander, works at the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) in the Destiny laboratory on the ISS. He also was the first person to be married in space.

    The station will orbit the earth at a speed of approx. 28,000 km per hour at an altitude between 350 and 450 km. One earth orbit lasts about 90 minutes. The station will be powered by gigantic solar panels which produce 110 kW of electrical power. When completed, the station will have a total weight of approximately 500 tons.

On Saturday, April 28, 2001, Dennis Tito became the first private citizen to fly aboard the space station. He paid 20 million dollars for the privilege.

Soyuz crew members Gennady Padalka (Russia), top, Michael Fincke (USA), center, and Andre Kuipers (Dutch) wave before boarding their spacecraft for a launch on Monday, April 19, 2004.

The spaceship, launched at 0318 GMT from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.

   Commander Gennady Padalka, 45, and flight engineer Edward "Mike" Fincke, 37, will replace two colleagues who have lived aboard the complex since October 2003.

   A third passenger aboard the Soyuz is Dutch flight engineer André Kuipers, 45.

   He will remain on the station for nine days to perform a series of commercial experiments and return to Earth with the outgoing station crew.

   Comeing home are NASA's Michael Foale and flight engineer Alexander Kaleri of the Russian space agency.

This is the official patch issued to the first crews who went to the International Space Station.

Here are some facts on the International Space Station:

1 The Space Station is the largest manned object ever sent into space, encompassing over 43,000 cubic feet of living and working space.
2 The Space Station consists of 70 separate major components and hundreds of minor ones, all of which will be assembled for the first time in space.
3 When fully constructed, the Space Station will be visible to more than 90 percent of the world's population.
4 Assembling the Space Station will require at least 45 launches and over 1,705 hours of space walks.
5 Humans need a little less sleep in space because our bodies do very little work in a microgravity environment. It takes no effort at all to raise an arm, hold your head up, or move a bulky object.
6 The Space Station circles the Earth every 90 minutes.
7 The human body tends to lose muscle and bone mass rapidly in space. To fight this loss, at least two hours of strenuous exercise is built into every astronaut's daily schedule.
8 Astronauts aboard the Space Station will spend more time working on experiments than anything else. Many projects require teamwork, so astronauts frequently work in pairs.
9 The Space Station is the most expensive single object ever built. The United States' participation has been estimated at $96 billion - a figure that nearly equals the combined cost of all of the Apollo missions to the moon.
10 The construction of the Space Station is a collaboration of 100,000 people, hundreds of companies, and sixteen nations spread over four continents, among them the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Want to know where the ISS currently is?
Click Here for a real-time update to it's location.

Click Here for NASA's Official ISS Web Site Gets Message from the ISS

This is the sign which Commander Yuri Malenchenko is holding. Commander of the ISS Yuri Malenchenko holding the personalized sign.
The picture above was transmitted from the orbiting International Space Station and dedicated to   Click Here for Info.

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