64 Facts About International Space Station–The Earth’s Only Microgravity Laboratory

Last updated on September 15th, 2023

The third brightest object in the night sky

49. Besides the Sun and Venus, the International Space Station is the third brightest object in the night sky. It is brighter than every other planet in the solar system that is visible from Earth.

50. The ISS National Lab on the station made some advances in research done there by scientists. It includes hardware prototyping, robotics, electronics, and other innovative technologies.

Golden, not blue or black!

51. The solar panels on the International Space Station are gold in color, not blue or black like those on Earth. Gold is much more efficient in converting solar energy to electricity.

Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson,
Astronaut Stephen K. Robinson, is anchored to the extended ISS’s Canadarm-2 during a spacewalk to repair the Control moment Gyroscopes. Facts about the ISS. Image credit NASA

Assembly flights

52. Around 42 assembly flights were needed to deliver all the large modules of the space station. Thirty-seven of them were delivered on US space shuttles.

Cargo supply

53. There are currently four cargo spacecraft delivering supplies to the station. Each can deliver around 20 tons of cargo to the space station.

From space to Earth and vice versa

54. More than 95 percent of the earth’s inhabitants can see the space station. Those on the station can see about 75 percent of the inhabited space of the Earth.

55. More than 20 research payloads can be hosted simultaneously outside the space station, which includes a wide range of science projects and research from many disciplines.

How far is the International Space Station?

56. The distance the space station travels in one day is roughly equivalent to the distance from Earth to the moon and back. The first astronauts who visited the moon would have loved this.

SpaceX crew
The four crew members representing the SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station pose for an official portrait at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. From left, are Mission Specialist Aleksandr Grebenkin from Roscosmos, and Pilot Michael Barratt, Commander Matthew Dominick, and Mission Specialist Jeanette Epps, all from NASA. ISS facts. Image via NASA

57. About 350,000 sensors are monitored by on-orbit software monitors. This is to ensure crew health and safety all the time. It also monitors the functions of the space station.

58. The International Space Station kept growing until 2021. That was when the Russian modules were launched and integrated with the construction successfully.

59. There have been six astronauts aboard the International Space Station at all times since October 2020. You can see who is on the station on Nasa’s website.

60. Expeditions to the space station typically last as long as six months, but that depends on the type of mission. Some may stay longer, and others may stay for a shorter duration.

61. The project was known as Freedom while the station was still in the design stage. It was approved by President Reagan, who authorized NASA to build it.

62. Those who stay on the space station are constantly assisted by control centers in Houston and Moscow. Payload control in Huntsville, Ala., also assists.

63. Did you know that 269 people from 21 countries visited the International Space Station on separate occasions? Some of them even visited the place more than once.

64. To bring the space station back to Earth after its expiration date, rockets are used to bring it lower. Gravity will do the rest of the job when it is closer to the Earth.