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The International Space Station.

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The International Space Station

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The International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) was originally conceived in 1983, and was to have several phases of implementation that were to be completed before 2000. All major modules of the space station were to use the heavy lift and large Volume capability of the Space Shuttle. However, the initial design went through several redesigns and suffered major setbacks from 2 shuttle catastrophes first the loss of the Challenger (January 6, 1986), and then the Columbia (2003).

The ISS is now completed, and the space shuttle retired. The Shuttle was the only launch vehicle that could deliver the modules to the ISS and assemble them. The ISS assembly was completed in 2011.

Following is a review of how the ISS looks, who the partners are and what they built. Currently six astronauts live and work inside the ISS on a continuous basis. There have been 3 astronauts living and working full time on the ISS, on rotating 6 month assignments, since October, 2000. We have a “Full Time Space Presence on the ISS”.

S. Akerley 2011


From the book

“Islands In The Sky, Building the International Space Station”, by Piers Bizony, 1996, Available via most bookstores (also see used copies.).

ISS Partners

NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

CSA - Canadian Space agency

ESA - European Space Agency

JAXA – Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency

POCKOCMOC - Russian Federal Space Agency


Also See

“Reference Guide to The International Space Station”, by Gary Kitmacher, 2006, Available via Apogee Books,


The International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is many things depending upon your perspective. It is a premier example of engineering excellence on a scale that we have seldom achieved before. It is both a Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering masterpiece. It is a monumental political statement of cooperation between nations. And it is one of the best examples of what mankind can do in a totally indifferent and hostile environment.

As you look at the following pictures think about how un-natural and challenging the assembly of the ISS has been. How wonderful that nations from WWII and the “Cold War Era” would cooperate in such a remarkable and grand manner.

And then there are the vistas that you can not avoid as you pass over the Earth. Everything you do is in full view of a spectacular Earth that is rotating below you.

Ponder these things as you view the following photos. What else comes to mind ?