The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. It follows the Salyut, Almaz, Skylab and Mir stations as the ninth space station to be inhabited. The ISS is a modular structure whose first component was launched in 1998. Like many artificial satellites, the station can be seen with the naked eye from Earth without any special equipment. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by American Space Shuttles as well as Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets. Budget constraints led to the merger of three space station projects with the Japanese Kibō module and Canadian robotics. In 1993 the partially built Soviet/Russian Mir-2, the proposed American Freedom, and the proposed European Columbus merged into a single multinational programme. The Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA/RKA) is using the ISS as a work site to assemble their next space station, called OPSEK. Modules and components for the new station began arriving on orbit in 2010, and the RSA plans to commission the new station before the remainder of the ISS is de-orbited.

The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.

The station has been continuously occupied for 700112000000000000012 years and 700134000000000000034 days, having exceeded the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir, in 2010. The station is serviced by Soyuz spacecraft, Progress spacecraft, the Automated Transfer Vehicle, the H-II Transfer Vehicle, and formerly the Space Shuttle. It has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations. On 25 May 2012, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (or SpaceX) became the world's first privately held company to send a cargo load, via the Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station.

The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian orbital segment (ROS) and the United States orbital segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. The ISS is maintained at an orbital altitude of between 330 km (205 mi) and 410 km (255 mi). It completes 15.7 orbits per day. The ISS is funded until 2020, and may operate until 2028.

Read more about ISSPurpose, Origins, Station Structure, Fleet Operations

Other articles related to "iss":

STS-134 - Mission Payload - Sensor Test of Orion Rel-nav Risk Mitigation Detailed Test Objective Kit
... nominal orbiter trajectory for docking to the ISS's Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 ... However, the shuttle did not actually dock with the ISS again instead, it was positioned below the station ... On STS-131, the docking target on the ISS was enhanced with reflectors, to allow for the characterization of the Orion Rel-Nav sensors' performance during STS-134's rendezvous and proximity operations with ...
ISS - Politics - Program Cost in United States Dollars
... $150 billion including 36 shuttle flights at $1.4 billion each, Russia's $12 billion ISS budget, Europe's $5 billion, Japan's $5 billion, and Canada's $2 billion ...
List Of Dutch Astronauts - André Kuipers
... During his eleven-day trip towards the International Space Station (ISS), Kuipers conducted twenty-one experiments on a wide range of subjects ... Kuipers' second mission was ISS Expedition 30 (as Flight Engineer 4) and he will also participate in ISS Expedition 31 (as Flight Engineer 1) ...
Soyuz TMA-21 - Docking
... with the International Space Station (ISS) on April 6 at 2309 UTC ... Hatches between the Soyuz TMA-21 and the ISS were opened at 213 UTC on April 7 ... The three Soyuz crew members floated into the ISS ...
List Of International Space Station Expeditions
... This is a chronological list of expeditions to the International Space Station (ISS) ... All permanent ISS crews are named "Expedition n", where n is sequentially increased with each expedition ... crews and space tourists are excluded (see List of human spaceflights to the ISS for details) ...