The International Space Station program is tied together by a complex set of legal, political and financial agreements between the fifteen nations involved in the project, governing ownership of the various components, rights to crewing and utilisation, and responsibilities for crew rotation and station resupply.
These agreements tie together the five space agencies and their respective International Space Station Programs and govern how they interact with each other on a daily basis to maintain station operations, from traffic control of spacecraft to and from the station, to utilization of space and crew time.
The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. It follows the Salyut, Almaz, Skylab and Mir stations as the ninth space station to be inhabited. The ISS is a modular structure whose first component was launched in 1998. Now the largest artificial body in orbit, it can often be seen at the appropriate time with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components. ISS components have been launched by American Space Shuttles as well as Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets.
The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars
- The nation that helped set up guidelines on the mitigation of space debris may have gone on to destroy a satellite in 2007 because it had not made them lawNews - 18 October 2008
- NASA's IBEX satellite is set to launch on Sunday – it will study atoms that bounce off the solar system's bubble-like boundaryBreaking News - 17 October 2008
- An attempt to reboot the telescope, which has been offline for nearly three weeks due to a faulty computer, ran into trouble on ThursdayBreaking News - 17 October 2008
- A way to make building materials using only moon dust and sulphur could prop up the US dream of permanent moon presenceBreaking News - 17 October 2008
- Pulsars are usually spotted by their lighthouse-like radio beams – but a new discovery seems to emit only higher energy gamma raysBreaking News - 17 October 2008
- Two objects in the outer solar system orbit each other at a distance of more than 100,000 km – the largest separation known in the regionBreaking News - 16 October 2008
- One of the most famous experiments of all time, Miller-Urey, was even more successful than thought and could hold the key to life's originBreaking News - 16 October 2008
- On Wednesday, President Bush signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2008. It requires the agency to do everything it can to add an extra shuttle flight to its roster so that a $1.5 billion experiment can be flown up to...Blog - 16 October 2008
- When a transmission from ET finally beams in, software to tease out its grammatical structure should give a better chance to understand itNews - 17 October 2008
- In the past week, a small space rock hit Earth and astronomers released images of a mysterious comet and seasons on UranusBreaking News - 15 October 2008
The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian orbital segment (ROS) and the United States orbital segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. The ISS is maintained at an orbital altitude of between 330 km (205 mi) and 435 km (270 mi). It completes 15.7 orbits per day.
The ISS is funded until 2020, and may operate until 2028. The Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA/RKA) has proposed using ISS to commission modules for a new space station, called OPSEK, before the remainder of the ISS is de-orbited.
The Station simplifies individual experiments by eliminating the need for separate rocket launches and research staff. The primary fields of research include Astrobiology, astronomy, human research including space medicine and life sciences, physical sciences, materials science, space weather and weather on Earth (meteorology).
Scientists on Earth have access to the crew's data and can modify experiments or launch new ones, benefits generally unavailable on unmanned spacecraft.
Crews fly expeditions of several months duration, providing approximately 160 man-hours a week of labour with a crew of 6.