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Assembling a World-Class Orbiting Laboratory
Fun Facts

Phase One of the International Space Station Program 
Phases Two and Three 
Launches of Early Station Components and the First Crew  
Science Activities and Future Exploration  
Fun Facts 

  • The International Space Station will have a mass of about 500 tons when it is completely assembled.
  • The station will measure 361 feet end-to-end. That's equivalent to the length of a football field, including the end zones.
  • Once assembled, the station will provide 46,000 cubic feet of pressurized living and working space-equivalent to the interior volume of one 747 jumbo jet.
  • Hauling the parts and pieces of the space station into orbit will require 45 space flights on three different types of launch vehicles over a five-year period. This unprecedented, complex orchestration of space flights will include the U.S. Space Shuttle and Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets.
  • The station will come with batteries included. It will have four U.S. photovoltaic modules, each with two arrays measuring 112 feet long by 39 feet wide. Each module generates about 23 kW. They rotate to face the sun, which provides maximum power to the station.
  • The solar array surface area is 27,000 square feet, or more than half an acre.
  • The electric power system is connected with 42,000 feet, or about eight miles, of wire.
  • The batteries, lined up end-to-end, measure 2,900 feet, more than ½ mile long.
  • Electrical and electronic parts include 1,900 different types of resistors, 500 types of capacitors and 150 types of transistors (note that this is not the part count; rather, it is a count of different types of hardware).
  • The station will have four windows for looking at Earth to conduct Earth observation experiments and other applications.
  • The station will have a Habitation Module for the crew as well as six scientific laboratories for research-a U.S. laboratory, the European Space Agency's Columbus Orbital Facility, a Japanese experiment module and three Russian research modules.
  • Fifty-two computers will control the systems on the International Space Station. There will be more than 400,000 lines of software for 16 of those computers which, in turn, talk to 2,000 sensors, effectors and embedded "smart" hardware controllers.
  • Two computers in the U.S. laboratory are dedicated to keeping the station in proper orientation (attitude) as it orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes.
  • The flight support software has 1.7 million lines of code.
  • The 55-foot-long robot arm, built by the Canadian Space Agency, has a 125-ton payload capability and mobile transporter which can be positioned along the station's truss for robotic assembly and maintenance operations.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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