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on video HOW IT WORKS: The International Space Station (1080p, 60fps)

 



(from the English name: International Space Station), is a space station placed in low Earth orbit, permanently occupied by an international crew dedicated to scientific research in the space environment. This program, launched and piloted by NASA, is being developed jointly with the Russian Federal Space Agency, with the participation of the European, Japanese and Canadian space agencies.


After numerous studies carried out by NASA in the 1960s and 1970s, the project was launched in 1983 by United States President Ronald Reagan, but an ever-increasing cost and a political context unfavorable to major civilian space programs delayed its completion. until 1998. In 1993, Russia, having already had experience of the Mir station, was invited to become a major player in the program, in particular with the Soyuz vehicle and the Progress tanker. Assembly in orbit began in 1998, but the accident of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 significantly delayed its progress. The ambitions of the program are, on several occasions, revised downwards, for lack of sufficient budgets, both on the Russian and American sides. To ensure supplies and enhance the orbit regularly degraded by atmospheric drag, several spacecraft take turns: Russian Progress cargo ships, Japanese HTV cargo ships, ATVs, European Automatic Transfer Vehicles, American Cygnus and SpaceX Dragon. In May 2020, a Crew Dragon spacecraft sends two astronauts to the station, paving the way for crew flights in private capsules and ending the exclusivity that the Russian Soyuz spacecraft had in crew relief since the shutdown. of the American space shuttle. This played a major role thanks to its carrying capacity and its withdrawal, which took place in July 2011 for reasons of obsolescence and security, created poorly resolved logistical constraints, in the absence of vessels capable of replacing it. completely. The construction of the International Space Station ends in 2011.


The International Space Station is the largest man-made object placed in Earth orbit. It extends over 110 m in length, 74 m in width and 30 m in height and has a mass of around 420 tonnes in 2019. The Station has a heterogeneous architecture with a Russian orbital segment taking up the architectural choices of the Mir station and a much larger American orbital segment developed according to the standards defined by NASA. It comprises around fifteen pressurized modules, four of which are devoted to scientific experiments, representing a volume of pressurized space of around 900 m3, of which 400 m3 is habitable. The solar panels, covering an area of 2,500 m2, provide 110 kW of electricity. The Station moves around the Earth at an altitude maintained around 330-420 kilometers. It has been permanently occupied since the year 2000, first by three people, then by six from November 2009, and seven since 2021. Each of the seven astronauts, during their stay lasting from 3 to 6 months, divides his working time between assembly, maintenance and scientific tasks. Scientific work focuses on biology – in particular the adaptation of human beings to the absence of gravity – as well as on materials science and astronomy.


The International Space Station has many detractors who criticize its cost, estimated at nearly 115 billion US dollars, which they do not justify, according to them, the scientific results obtained or potential. Proponents of the International Space Station highlight the experience acquired in the field of long stays in orbit and the symbolic importance of a permanent presence of man in space. It must be used at least until 2028.


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