Parts of humanity will be seeing a lot of images from space over the coming years.
The International Space Station, a $100 billion space station that connects Russia, the United States, Japan and Europe has been linked up with ISS since 1998.
NASA astronaut Debra Rosson, Russian flight engineer Oleg Novitskiy and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui are currently the astronauts living aboard the orbital laboratory. According to NASA, Novitskiy and Rosson will return to Earth on March 21. Yui will return to Earth on March 28.
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When the astronauts arrived at the station in November, Rosson and Novitskiy have been making adjustments to the orbital station.
Rosson and Novitskiy have been working to install new equipment that has arrived from the new Russian segment of the International Space Station. The two astronauts have been plugging water between two pipes to the cold module, and pulling water from the tank to heat the chamber.
This is all to prepare for the arrival of “Iike,” the point where the International Space Station will drop out of orbit in the middle of an orbital loop that it is traveling at 17,500 mph.
On the Station
Photo by Rob by Bcowgren/NASA/Issues
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The International Space Station orbits Earth at a height of more than 240 miles above the surface of the planet. Part of the reason it is named ISS is that the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency worked on the formation of the ISS.
The international community uses the International Space Station to study how space affects various parts of the planet. Astronauts in space observe the Earth at different wavelengths, which gives the scientists the ability to study phenomena on Earth that they wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye.
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Although the ISS itself is useful for science, it isn’t able to perform the same tasks that other NASA missions can do. According to NASA, in orbit on the ISS, its astronauts “help maintain operations and systems, and they perform experiments to improve human life on Earth. They also test new technologies in microgravity.”