The International Space Station (ISS) turned 20 years old on November 20, 2018. The project was kicked by Russian space agency Roscosmos when it launched its Zarya module from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 20, 1998.
The launch was followed by NASA’s Unity module. The pair was joined in low-earth orbit, which kick-started a 13-year construction effort of the most ambitious construction project in the history of humanity. The result of the effort was a habitable artificial satellite, which currently serves as a giant orbiting observatory and laboratory.
On 2oth November 1998, aerospace engineers from Russia and the United States celebrated the lift-off of the Russia-built, US-funded unit Zarya (“sunrise”) as it took off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The most significant thrust for the success of the project was the co-operation between former Cold War rivals- the United States and Russia (part of Soviet Union that disintegrated in 1990).
Some interesting facts about ISS:
· It is the largest manned object in space, 357ft long, just a yard short of a full-length football field.
· It is the single most expensive object ever built at £93.4bn.
· It is the third brightest object in the Earth’s night sky after the moon and Venus.
· The space station travels at a speed of 4.791 miles per second, fast enough to go to the moon and back in a single day.
· It orbits the earth approximately once every 90 minutes or 16 times in a 24-hour period.
· The orbiting station has been continuously occupied since November 2000.
· On September 2, 2017, Nasa’s Peggy Whitson set the record of being the longest-serving human in space.
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