International
Space Station (ISS)

Introduction:

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The
International Space Station (ISS) is a man-made satellite which was launched
into the low earth orbit in 1998. This space station is suitable for living where
a crew of 6 members can live and can be used until 2028. The low earth orbit,
having an orbit of nearly 711km, has an orbital period from 84 to 127 minutes. The
International Space Station has an orbital speed of 7.67 km per second. Hence,
its orbital period is 711/7.67 ~ 92.65 minutes. So, this makes (24*60)/92.65 =
15.54 orbits per day. With a length of 72.8m and a width of 108.5m, the ISS
weighs more than 4 lakh kgs making it the largest artificial body revolving in
the low earth orbit such a person standing on the earth’s surface can see it
directly with his naked eye. Many countries like the United States, Russia,
Japan and some European countries were a part of its construction. The
International Space Station is as big as a football ground, having a volume of
nearly a 5 bedroom house.

History:

            The International Space Station (ISS) was the idea of the
United States but later constructed and developed by many other countries forming
their own space agencies. It had its roots in the 1940s when astronauts realized
that the construction of such a huge space station and living in micro gravity
are possible. In the year 1984, the then President of USA, Ronald Reagan
instructed the NASA officials to build the ISS. As the construction was huge,
they designed the parts of the space station and decided to assemble them in
the space itself.

·        
The first segment of the International
Space Station, named Zarya (also known as Functional Cargo Block) was launched
on November 20, 1998 on a Russian proton rocket in Kazakhstan. Being built in
Moscow, it took 4 years i.e. from December 1994 to January 1998, for them to
build the module.  The main aim of Zarya
was to provide the space station with electrical power, propulsion, communications,
guidance and storage to the ISS.

·        
Within 15 days, on December 4, 1998, the
first U.S built component, Unity, was launched. This component is completely
dedicated for the assembly of the station. Having a cylindrical shape, this
module provided the ISS with many resources like fluids, environmental control
and life support systems as well as data systems.

·        
On 12th July, 2000, another
module which made the station usable for scientists to live was launched and
docked with the International Space Station. It made the station habitable for
a 6 member crew. It also provides controls, navigation and guidance. It is
known as Zevada or Service Module (SM) or DOS-8.

·        
On 2nd November, 2000, three
scientists resided in the space station for many months. These are the first to
reside in ISS.

·        
On 7th February, 2001, the
United States launched its own module named Destiny or the U.S. Lab which
serves as the primary research center for U.S. payloads.

·        
On 15th July, 2001, another pressurized
module named Quest airlock was launched hich stores the crew lock, spacesuits
and equipment.

·        
On 14th September, 2001,
Russian airlock docking module named Pirs or Mini-Research Module was launched
whose main purpose was to store and service as well as to provide connection
between ISS and the already existing but inhabitant mir station.

·        
With unity as Node 1, the United States
on 23rd October, 2007 (7 years after Node-1) launched its Node-2
i.e, the Harmony module. It serves as the utility hub for the United States
space agency. It acts as a central connecting point providing connection to
other components and bus electronic data.

·        
Node 3 or Tranquility was launched by
the United States on 8th February, 2008 to support life and recycle
waste water. With the advancement in technology, this is used for the
production of oxygen.

·        
On the same day of Tranquility launch
i.e. 8th February, 2008, European Space Agency joined the space
station and launched its first ever European module and European primary
research center. Also, it is the first ever module to conduct research experiments
in the fields of biology and fluid physics. The module is named as Columbus.

·        
With Europe coming aboard, Japan Space
agency also joins the International Space Station. On 11th March,
2008, Japan launched its first ever named Kibo. It is also the largest ISS
module. It is also used for observations in medicine, biology, communications
and biotechnology.

·        
On 12th November, 2009, 8years
after launching the Pir module, Russian airlock docking module named Poisk or
Mini-Research Module – 2 was launched whose main purpose was to store and
service as well as to provide connection between ISS and the already existing
but inhabitant mir station.

·        
On 8th February, 2010, the
European Space Agency (ESA) launched its second module Cupola and attached with
Tranquility. Having 7 windows, Cupola is used for docking and observations of
earth.

·        
On 14th May, 2010, Russia
launched its module Rassvet or the Mini – Research Module 1 which is used for
the purpose of cargo storage as well as docking.

·        
On 24th February, 2011,
European Space Agency launched another pressurized module named Leonardo or the
Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) which is being attached with Tranquility
and used for storage of spares, supplies as well as waste.

·        
On 10th April, 2016, Bigelow
Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), an experimental module, was docked with the
International Space Station to act as a docking station and commercial space
station.

·        
On 18th July, 2016,
International Docking Adapter (IDA) was launched.

·        
The components are scheduled to launch
in 2018 and 2019 as well with some of them having postponed dates.

Purpose:

The
ISS serves as an orbiting laboratory for the scientists as well as NASA to live
there and for research purposes. The space station is constructed in the space
itself by arranging the parts. It is being used as a space environment research
laboratory to perform experiments in almost all the fields of science ranging
from human biology, astrology and meteorology and even many other fields. The
scientists use it as a home/laboratory to study about habitable environment in
space and working there.

The
main purpose of the International Space Station is to conduct experiments about
exploring other worlds and travelling there. It is the first step, by the space
agencies of United States and Russia, in travelling to other places and for
future operations like Moon, Mars as well as asteroids. The International Space
Station acts as a stage/base for the scientists to conduct experiments in space
which they cannot do on the surface of the earth. This helps them to research
on the benefits of the people for helping their day-to-day life. The results of
the research are called “spinoffs”. It is also helpful for them to study
about the concept of micro gravity and its effect on human beings when they
live there for a longer duration. Apart from this, the ISS also serves as an
observational platform for astronomical, geographical and environmental study.
It also aids for educational, diplomatic and commercial services.

 

 

 

 

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