Top 10 incredible facts about International Space Station

Top 10 incredible facts about International Space Station

International Space Station (ISS) is often referred to as the ‘Man’s Greatest Achievement’ as it is located 240 miles above the surface of the Earth. It was launched for the first time in 1998 and the purpose of its establishment was to support all the space-based research. The first of its modules, called Zarya, came from Russia which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. A couple of weeks later, NASA launched Unity. It is an exemplary accomplishment as different nations of the world are working together in pursuit of a common goal, knowledge about our surroundings. There are a lot of extraordinary things about this place but the top 10 among them are:

1.      Involvement of 16 Countries

As discussed above, ISS has modules from different parts of the world. Numerically speaking, a total of 16 countries have contributed to this amazing spacecraft till now. Other than Russia and the United States, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and many countries of the European Space Agency including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have played their part in constructing it.

2.      Visible from Earth

ISS is the 3rd brightest object in the night sky and it can be observed with a naked eye especially at the time of dusk and dawn. It seems like a fast-moving airplane as its light moves across the sky. In case you are intrigued by that but couldn’t locate it, there is nothing to worry. NASA has a service called ‘Spot the Station’ which texts you the time and the spot from where it will pass over your location.

3.      16 Sunrises a Day

The orbiting speed of ISS is 28000 kilometers/hour due to which it completes an orbit around the Earth in 1.5 hours. This means that astronauts residing at this space station experience 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. Despite that, they can never observe a dawn or a dusk. However, they can see the terminating line which differentiates between the light and dark portions of our planet.

4.      Largest Manned Object in Space

The pressurized volume of the ISS resembles with the space inside a Boeing 747 and it is measured to be 32,333 feet3. Just to perceive the vastness of this spacecraft, it is 5 times larger than Skylab while MIR is four times smaller than this massive object. It is about the size of a football field and weighs approximately 460 tons.

5.      ISS is Falling

Gravity is quite strong in those parts of the Earth’s atmosphere where ISS exists. You might be wondering why it doesn’t fall on Earth if it is falling. The answer to this is that it does fall but the speed of falling is equal to the speed of orbiting due to which it falls around the Earth.

6.      Virus on Computer

If you think that computers in space are immune to viruses, you are completely mistaken as 52 computers that are onboard have been affected by viruses on different occasions. The first (W32.Gammima.AG) of them was named ‘Nuisance’, by the NASA, as it caused minor issues.

7.      No Laundry Service

Clothes are not washed at the ISS because there is no excess water to use for laundry purposes. Carrying a cargo of clothes is not an option as it costs nearly $10000 to send a package to the ISS. It must be kept in mind that astronauts do not need to change their clothes on a daily basis as the minimal activity is needed in a microgravity environment.

8.      Onboard Weapons

Generally, there are a couple of guns on the ISS. Although cosmonauts are their rightful owners, everyone is allowed to use them. They have three barrels and can shoot rifle rounds, shotgun rounds, or flares. These devices can also be used as machetes or shovels.

9.      Hub for Space Traffic

ISS is used to dock spacecraft for international space missions. It can tackle multiple spacecraft as it docked four separate spaceships in June 2014. Cargo spacecraft carrying supplies of fuel, food, and supplies are quite common and the schedule remains occupied most of the times these days as a lot of space exploration is in progress.

10.  No Chinese Astronauts

All the representatives of Chinese space agency are banned inside the ISS. This ban was enforced in 2011 as the United States feared that China wants to use the facility for secret military purposes. Despite the fact that it was not appreciated by the ‘Time’, the U.S. government stuck to their stance.


Muneeb ud Deen
A sports fanatic who loves to read.
"Honesty and self-satisfaction have been my weapons throughout my writing career of 3 years."

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