Two United States astronauts have begun to create parking places at the international space station (ISS) for two commercial space taxis. The two astronauts have planned three spacewalks that will take over six hours over the next eight weeks. This station is owned by 15 nations and is a laboratory worth $100 billion. On November 2, 2010, the international space station celebrated its 10th anniversary as a habitat for humans.
The international space station, an orbiting laboratory, is in need of a radical change for the preparation of the new vehicles. The United States has been working with Russia to provide transportation for the crew especially since the shuttle program has been inactive since 2011.
There are several noteworthy points of information about the international space station. There were 136 space flights of travel to build it. It can travel 4.791 miles per second. This international space station weighs about one million pounds and has eight miles of wire for electrical power.
The surface of the international space station is the size of a United States football field and it is as spacious as a six bedroom house. It also has a gymnasium. There are a little more than 10 telephone booths of this laboratory’s research material. There are 52 computers controlling it, which averages 1.5 million lines of software code that is documented on 44 computers.
Since 2000, approximately 25, 000 meals have been consumed and this space craft has been visited by 211 people from 15 countries. As of November 2010, it had made 57, 361 orbits around the earth. From this station, there have been 184 space walks, which totals 1,152 hours. This calculates to be 48 days.
In certain places on earth, this international space station or other orbits can be seen. It will appear as a plane that is moving very quickly in the sky. It will mostly be the brightest in the sky at night with the exception of the moon. In fact, in Houston, Texas, at the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, it has been reported many times during the week where the specific location will be. Worldwide, there are 6,700 locations.
Popular cities in the United States for the visibility of the space station are San Diego, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, and Tampa. In other countries, the hot spots are London, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Glasgow.
Since November of 2014, this space station has been a launching dock for several other international countries, which includes Russia and Japan. President Obama stated that support will be given to this international space station until 2024. Although the funding may end from the United States, however, the station modules will stay in orbit as the Russian Federal Agency plans to keep it going.
The space walks at the international space station will take place on Wednesday, February 26, and Sunday March 1, 2015. During these walks, the astronauts will prepare a place to anchor for the flight taxis, which are privately owned by Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and Boeing. The station will have 764 feet of new cable as well as a communication system for the Boeing CST -100 and SpaceX Dragon capsules. This is a very complicated task.
The first taxis flight is scheduled for late 2016. The international space station may be a good resource for further space travel, and subsequently, missions to the moon by 2030.
By Marie A. Wakefield
Photo by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center – License