Top International Space Station Facts

  • 12 November 2015
Major Tim Peake Image copyright Reuters

Major Tim Peake is getting ready to blast into space to complete his first mission.

For six months the International Space Station (ISS) will be his home.

The ISS was launched back in 1998 and astronauts have been living on board ever since.

It's an important place to carry out tests and research that will help future space missions to places like the Moon and Mars.

Take a look at the ISS in numbers:

Image copyright CARLOS CLARIVAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
  • 357ft is the length of the ISS from end-to-end - that's about the same as a football pitch.
  • 2 - After the moon, the ISS is the second brightest object in our night sky. You don't even need a telescope to see it zoom over your house.
  • 5 - miles per second, that's the speed at which the ISS travels. It orbits the earth every 90 minutes.
Image copyright Reuters
  • 220 people from 17 different countries have visited the ISS since it launched.
  • 2 bathrooms on board! There's also 1 gym, and a 360 degree bay window.
  • 189 spacewalks have taken place from the ISS, totalling up to 1184 hours by 121 different astronauts.
  • 52 computers control all the systems on the station.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption An astronaut making a spacewalk around the ISS
  • 420,000kg is the approximate weight of the ISS - that's about the same as 320 cars.
  • 250 miles - the distance the station is from earth.
  • 2020 is the year that it is currently planned to be decommissioned - that means it will not be used anymore.

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