On October 2, 2000, the International Space Station got its first residents as an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrived aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule for a four-month stay. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the the world’s shared space station.
The ISS Travels At a Whopping 5 Miles-Per-Second
The ISS travels at a whopping 5 miles-per-second. This means is that it circles Earth every 90 minutes. This is equivalent to 10 times the speed of a bullet. Within 24 hours, the ISS orbits our planet 16 times and travels through 16 sunsets and sunrises, which sounds like a great photo op.
Time Slows Down On The ISS
Amazingly, astronauts return from the ISS having aged less than they would have on Earth. Because of "relative velocity time dilation", the high-speeds that astronauts aboard the ISS are traveling mean that time slows down for them relative to people on the surface of the Earth. It's not a fail-safe anti-aging trick though. After 6 months on the ISS, astronauts are only 0.005 seconds younger than the rest of us on Earth.
It is The Single Most Expensive Object Ever Built
The ISS is the single most expensive object ever built, and estimated to have cost more than $120 billion. It is around 357.6 feet long, which gives astronauts plenty of room to stretch out. It has six sleeping quarters, a gym to exercise and a bay window that would make anyone jealous because it offers a 360-degree view. There are two space toilets on the ISS, which astronauts strap themselves into to use. Their urine is even filtered and turned into drinking water.
It’s The Biggest Manned Object in Space Made up of hundreds of major and minor components, the ISS is the largest manned object ever put into space. The Space Station has the same pressurized volume as a Boeing 747 of 32,333 cubic feet. It's four times larger than the Russian space station MIR and five times larger than the U.S. station Skylab.
Sixteen Nations Were Involved in The Construction of The ISS The United States, Canada, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Belgium, France, Denmark, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Switzerland all made contributions to the construction of this massive project.