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The Future of Canadian Space Exploration

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Brief Introduction to the International Space Station

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Above: The International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is to be the largest structure in space. When completed in 2003 it will be 290 feet long, have a wing span of 356 feet and 4.5 inches, and weigh 414 tons. It will take over 50 launches to complete and is the largest international space project ever undertaken, involving teams from the United States of America, Russia, Canada, Japan, Brazil, and eleven European countries. Powered by solar arrays it will be able to generate 110 kilowatts of power. When done it will support a permanent international crew of seven astronauts and their experiments. The assembly will require launch vehicles from the United States, Russia, and possibly Japan and France. It will be assembled by flight crew onboard the shuttle and later on the ISS its self.

Construction on the International Space has already started. In December 1998, the crew of Space Shuttle Mission STS-88 began construction of the International Space Station, joining the U.S.-built Unity node to the Russian-built Zarya module. The crew carried a large format IMAX(r) camera from which this picture was taken. Astronaut James Newman working on communication cables on Unity while Astronaut Ross monitors his progress .

International Space Station Assembly Complete Configuration


Copyright (c) 1999 Mark Ma and David Leung. All Rights Reserved.