ESA title
Artist's impression of the completed International Space Station
Science & Exploration

ISS: International Space Station

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / International Space Station

Versatile permanently inhabited research institute in Low Earth Orbit

The International Space Station is a versatile research institute and a large observation platform in outer space for scientific research and applications. It also serves as a test centre to introduce new technologies. This permanently occupied human outpost in outer space also serves as a stepping stone for further space exploration.

Dimensions and mass  
Width 108 m
Length 74 m (~88 m incl. ATV or Progress)
Height 45 m
Pressurized volume 1200 m3
Total mass at completion ~450 000 kg

On launch Launched in components on launch vehicles provided by participating partners and assembled in orbit.
First launch 20 November 1998
Assembly complete 2010
On orbit
Orbital altitude 370-460 km
Orbital inclination 51.6°
Orbital velocity 7.6-7.7 km/s (around 27 500 km/h)

Launch vehicles
European Ariane-5
Japanese H-IIA
Russian Proton
Russian Soyuz
United States Space Shuttle
United States Falcon
United States Antares

Transport vehicles for crew or supplies  
European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Servicing and logistics
Japanese HII Transfer Vehicle (HTV) Servicing and logistics
Russian Soyuz spacecraft Manned spacecraft for up to three astronauts
Russian Progress vehicle Servicing and logistics vehicle
US Space Shuttle (retired) Manned spacecraft for up to seven astronauts
US Dragon Servicing and logistics
US Cygnus Servicing and logistics

Canada, Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Europe, European Space Agency (ESA) representing 10 of the 18 Member States
Japan, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Russia, Roscosmos
USA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

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