The International Space Station: Building for the Future

The International space station is a globally established exploration facility constructed in a low- world orbit. It is the biggest space station ever assembled. Construction of the ISS began in the year 1994. The station will be completed by the year 2012.

It is expected that this station will be operational up to the year 2020, and hopefully, by the year 2028, the station will still be operational. The ISS after completion will be visible to the naked when viewed from the Earth. The initial module of this station was instigated in Russia in the year 1998. Since then, modules under pressure, exterior trusses, and other elements have been instigated by Space shuttles in America (Catchpole, 2008, p. 220).

In 2011, the station comprised of about 15 pressurized modules and a wide truss structure. It is expected that the designed final module, which is Russian, will be launched in the year 2012. Power in ISS is supplied by 16 astral arrays that escalated on the exterior truss.

Four small solar arrays in Russia also supply this station with power. The title and use of the ISS are done by Intergovernmental agreements that permit the Russian alliance to retain the total rights of its modules. The remainder is distributed amongst the other global associates. The station is overhauled by Soyuz, Progress, and the Mechanized Transfer Vehicle spacecraft.

The expenditures of the ISS have amounted to about € 100 billion in the last 30 years. This makes the funding, research capacities, and technological design of this station to be highly criticized. Based on the original MOU, the ISS was planned to be a research center, factory, and observatory in space.

It was also intended to offer transportation and act as a foundation for feasible missions to space. In the year 2010, extra roles of serving viable, political, and academic purposes were assigned to the ISS (Catchpole, 2008, p. 220).


Countries participating in the International Space Station project

The ISS is an amalgamation of numerous project space stations that involve American Freedom, the European Columbus, Kibo in Japan, and the Soviet in Russia. Financial constraints resulted in the amalgamation of these projects into a solitary transnational program. It is managed as a mutual project amongst the five-member space agencies. The station’s departments are managed by mission management centers on the ground (Engelhardt, 1998, p. 56).

Brief description of the space ship and characteristics of its orbit

The station is sustained at an orbit of 278 to 460 km altitude. It travels at a standard ground pace of 27724 km hourly hence finishing 15.7 orbits daily. The station’s maximum altitude will be 425km, and this will be done to allow appointment missions by NASA’s shuttles.

It is, however, expected that with the retreat of the shuttle, the titular orbit of the ISS would be increased in altitude. Since the altitude of this space station is lost due to minor atmospheric drags, then it is supposed to be heightened to higher altitudes numerous times every year.

The space stations prime engines can do this advancement. It takes roughly three hours for the advancement in altitude to be accomplished. The orbital department in Russia performs direction, navigation, and management for the ISS. The station’s attitude is autonomously determined by a collection of stars, sun, and another space sensor (Engelhardt, 1998, p. 56).

Life in the International Space Station

Life in the ISS is the same to live on Earth except for the occurrence of a condition known as weightlessness. This means that persons in the space liberally float and carrying out activities is quite challenging. The astronauts in the ISS face 16 sunrises and sunsets daily since the ISS rotates around the Earth every 90 minutes.

This is hard to cope. They also sleep for 5-6 hours daily instead of the usual 7-8 hours on Earth. Problems in lack of sleep may be caused by the enthusiasm of the initial steps in a lack of weight. Sleeping entails the astronauts enfolding themselves in a sleeping bag fastened to the wall. They use earplugs to evade the sound of life support systems that are always in place (Branley, 2000, p. 28).

Although Sunday is a day of relaxing, some studies in this space station continue to run and need to be examined. Most of the astronaut’s meals are frozen, and temperature stabilized to make them ready for consumption. Such conditions impair the food’s taste and make it unfit for human consumption.

Astronauts also face the problem of lack of water since water has to be transported from Earth to the ISS, and this is tremendously costly. In the ISS, there is a substantial risk of micrometeorite striking the astronaut. Occurrences of astronauts getting sick are, therefore, very common in the ISS.

During weightlessness, a disease known as Space motion affects almost all astronauts. On space, the senses of vision, hearing, and contact do not match with one another like on Earth. This abrupt input of perplexing signals to the brain results in the sickness of many astronauts.

Astronauts suffering from this disease have symptoms such as appetite loss, severe headache, stomach upsets, and nausea. It, therefore, becomes hard for them to work sufficiently and effectively. In ISS, there is stable microgravity, and the body organs adapt to function together comparatively.

Fortunately, for most astronauts, the signs of this sickness last for a few days. It is, therefore, clear that astronauts do not suffer from severe sicknesses for a long time (Branley, 2000, p. 28).

The communication system between the station and Earth

The ISS has both interior and exterior communication systems that play distinct purposes. There is a two-way aural and video communication amidst crewmembers in the ISS. Networks in radio and satellite permit crews in the ISS to communicate with the ground management centers and the orbiter. It also allows ground control to supervise and sustain ISS systems and manage payloads.

These communication networks allow flight managers to send commands to the various ISS systems. There is also a file relocation communication system between the station and flight management teams situated in the mission organization center in Houston. These communication systems allow for the transfer of payload data from the ISS to the Houston mission, control center, and finally to the Payload control unit.

They also allow for the circulation of the ISS experimental results via the Payload Control Unit to payload professionals. Communication systems also allow the management of the ISS by flight administrators via instructions to send through the MCC-H. Radio communications offer telemetry and systematic data connections between the space station and Mission regulatory centers.

They are also used during harboring and rendezvous processes and for auditory and video exchanges amongst members of the crew and flight managers. Another communication system in this station is the use of Voskhod-M, which allows for internal telephone transactions between the station and the Earth (Engelhardt, 1998, p. 56).

Importance of a laboratory in space

The ISS has a study laboratory with a microgravity neighboring in which groups carry out research in the field of biology, particularly human biology and other sciences. It has an exclusive surrounding for examining the spacecraft structures necessary for the moon and stars missions.

The existence of a stable crew enables the space station to examine, reload, renovate, and replace experiments and constituents of the spacecraft. In the ISS, experiments that need extraordinary conditions are conducted in this laboratory. Earth scientists have the right to use this data and have the power to change or instigate new experiments (Catchpole, 2008, p. 220).

Studies on the ISS enhance knowledge about the consequences of space disclosure that is long- term on human beings. This includes muscle degeneration, loss of bones, and fluid transfer.

For instance, in the year 2006, research on bone loss and weakening of muscles advocated that there would be a high risk of fissures and locomotion problems for astronauts because of long- term periods in space. Therapeutic studies are also performed in this laboratory. This puts into consideration the identification and treatment of health situations in space.

How different projects and experiments carried out in the ISS are affected by the ending of the Space Shuttle program

The space shuttle is an atmospheric craft established for transporting people and goods to, from space, and around the Earth. It was constructed in the 1970s to act as a reusable craft.

The ending of this program has, however, affected the different projects and experiments in the ISS. This is because, after its ending, satellites, and other devices in the ISS could not be transported. In addition, since this space shuttle is responsible for renovating this equipment, then after its end, this was not possible.

The ending of the space shuttle program also affected the performance of space experiments, which were mainly for studying weightlessness. Since the space shuttle carries about seven astronauts, then its end meant that there was no more transportation of crewmembers around the space.

It is in the space shuttle where the astronaut’s slumber, feed and bathe. They also store water and oxygen containers in the floor storage section. Without this space shuttle, then their lives become hard. The end of this program has also affected research in the ISS. This is because research is conducted in this shuttle (Branley, 2000, p. 28).


The ISS is terribly pertinent to the world, and in my own view, the efforts and finance used in ISS are worth its value since it has been extremely advantageous to all humanity. This is because ISS has made the world work together in different areas.

For instance, the United States and Russia, who were opponents in the cold war, are now members of this space station. The disease has been a menace to human beings, but in space, we can carry out experiments based on these diseases, which are difficult to perform on Earth. ISS also reduces the costs involved while moving from one planet to another.


Branley, M. (2000). The International Space Station. New York: Harper Collins.

Catchpole, J. (2008).The international space station: building for the future. Berlin: Springer.

Engelhardt, W. (1998).The International Space Station: A Journey Into Space.Nurnberg: Tessloff.

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