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GS-III : S&T

International Space Station- Comprehensive analysis

  • 25 April, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

International Space Station- Comprehensive analysis

Introduction

  • The ISS has been assembled section by section over several years. The first segment was launched on November 20, 1998, in a Russian proton rocket named Zarya (which means ‘sunrise’)
  • The first human expedition to the station was launched in a Soyuz TM 31 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
  • So far, 240 individuals from 19 countries have visited the ISS, including from Malaysia and the UAE

About ISS

  • The International Space Station (ISS) is a landmark of international cooperation.
  • For over 20 years, it has seen intense collaboration between the U.S., Russia, the EU, Japan and Canada, and has played host to people from 19 countries since its launch in 1998.
  • The idea of the ISS was born in 1984 by Ronald Reagan
  • A space station will permit quantum leaps in our research in science, communications, and in metals and lifesaving medicines which could be manufactured only in space.
  • The ISS project saw a collaboration grow between several countries, mainly the following space agencies: NASA (U.S.), Roscosmos (Russia), ESA (Europe), JAXA (Japan) and CSA (Canada)
  • Though the programme began in 1993, the construction of the station started only in 1998.
  • The ISS has been assembled section by section over several years.
  • The first segment was launched on November 20, 1998 in a Russian proton rocket named Zarya (which means ‘sunrise’).
  • The first human expedition to the station was launched in a Soyuz TM 31 rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
  • This crew became the very first to inhabit the ISS — these were NASA astronaut Bill Shepard and Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev from Roscosmos, who reached the station on November 2, 2000 and stayed for several months.
  • The assembling of the ISS has been a complex undertaking in itself. It took over 10 years and over 30 missions to bring it to its present form.
  • The ISS travels through space at a speed of 28,000 km per hour is something that can be watched from the Earth and wondered at.
  • If the ISS flies over your location a bit before sunrise or a bit after sunset, for those few minutes, it is usually the brightest object in the sky.
  • The length of the ISS is 109 m
  • It weighs 419,725 kg, which to give a perspective, is the weight of 1,090 cows.
  • The ISS, at a height of about 402 km above the Earth, orbits it 16 times every day, once every 90 minutes. Over a period of 24 hours, the people inhabiting the ISS see 16 sunrises and sunsets.

Russia’s own ISS to be built

  • This scenario appears to be coming to an end, as Russian space agency Roscosmos’s chief has declared that Russia is ready to build its own space station and launch it by 2030 if President Vladimir Putin would give the go ahead.

Human presence

  • One of the most spectacular achievements of the ISS is that ever since November 2, 2000, it has seen the steady presence of human beings.
  • So far, 240 individuals from 19 countries have visited the ISS, including from Malaysia and the UAE.
  • It has a habitable volume of 388 cu. m. and includes six sleeping quarters, two toilets and a gym
  • The first experiments were those that studied the dynamics of cells under microgravity.
  • Some of the experiments being conducted by the latest expeditions include a study of how muscles work under long-term stay under low-gravity conditions.
  • This is an experiment by ESA and observes biochemical properties of muscles under long-term exposure to spaceflight.
  • This can help in developing rehabilitation both on Earth and in Space.
  • Another experiment mimics the way geckos attach themselves to surfaces, using an adhesive that has been shown to work in space.
  • This can help devise methods for robots to attach themselves to surfaces and then to detach just the way geckos do.

Physics experiments

  • Some of the early physical sciences experiments related to crystal growth.
  • The newer ones study the behaviour of free-flying soccer balls in microgravity.
  • More exotic sounding subjects include Janus particles, or particles that have two ‘faces’ with distinct properties — one side is hydrophobic and avoids water, while the other is hydrophilic and loves water.
    • Studying these in microgravity reveals the fundamental physics behind microparticle self- assembly and the kinds of colloidal structures that can be fabricated.

 

Source: TH

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