The International Space Station travels in orbit around the Earth at a speed of roughly 17,500 miles per hour.
5 OUT OF THIS WORLD FACTS ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
The International Space Station may be mankind’s greatest creation (OK, after the wheel, the printing press, and of course, the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s album). It’s a laboratory, an observatory, and a home for as many as 10 people, all floating 240 miles up in outer space. Built in 1998 and operated by 15 countries, it serves as a base for all kinds of research into medicine, biology and of obviously, outer space. Just as importantly, it’s proof that different nations and cultures can peacefully work together in the pursuit of innovation and knowledge. Here’s more about this man-made marvel:
- The International Space Station is huge: We’re talking ginormous. In fact, it’s by far the largest man-made object in space and is slightly bigger than a football field. And even though it floats, it weighs a whopping 460 tons.
- It’s so big you can see it from your backyard: Known as the I.S.S. (nobody can agree upon an official nickname), the International Space Station is usually the third brightest object in the night sky and is visible to the naked eye. Look for an airplane-like light moving quickly across the sky. Your best bet is at dusk or dawn.
- It wasn’t cheap: The International Space Station cost was about 125-billion-dollars, give or take a few billion. Whatever the exact amount is, the space station is the single most expensive object ever built by mankind. Roughly half of the price was contributed by the U.S, the rest by other nations including Russia, Japan, and various European nations.
- It’s fast: The International Space Station moves at just over 17,500 miles per hour. To put that into perspective, that’s about ten times the speed of a bullet on earth.
- It covers a lot of territories: The International Space Station orbits the earth 16 times a day. That means the astronauts see a sunrise about every 92 minutes.
Too bad they don’t get frequent flyer miles.