The International Space Station (ISS) is placed in low Earth orbit at 340 km altitude, it goes around the Earth in 90 minutes at the speed of 27 700 km / h or 7.7 km/s. This station is occupied continuously since the 2000s, an international crew that is dedicated to scientific research in the space environment where it sees about 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. ISS is a project led by NASA and developed with the Russian Federal Space Agency (FKA), and European Space Agency, Japan and Canada. Its construction began in 1998 and completed in 2011. More than ten years after it starts, the ISS is still incomplete. U.S. shuttles and Russian Soyuz rockets that provide round-trips between the station and the Earth will no longer be in service around 2010. The end of life of the station is planned for 2015. How to replace the American shuttles, capable of carrying up to eight astronauts against only three for Soyuz rockets?
The United States planned to implement a new manned vehicle, called Orion, cheaper and more reliable than their current shuttle. This vehicle will probably not be ready until 2015.
Image: which owns the space? According to the Space Treaty of 1967 United Nations "Outer Space, Including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be subject to national appropriation. " The declaration, ratified by one hundred states, does not prevent some companies, such as Lunar Embassy or Lunar Republic, to sell land on the moon from about 40 euros per hectare. A delicate situation, recognizes the International Institute of Space Law in March 2009, for which new legislation is needed to better control these private claims.
Largest space structure ever realised
ISS, the ISS (International Space Station), allows to perform experiments in many scientific fields. The program cost was estimated at 70 billion euros (15 cents per day and by Europeans throughout the program), probably 100 to 115 billion today. Contributors (U.S., Russia, Canada, Japan, Europe). The dimensions of this experimental station, are equivalent to those of a football field. It is also a viewing platform on Earth and the Universe. Since the first launch in 1998, 2 or 3 astronauts permanently occupy the station to see the Earth from above. The elements of the station are sent one by one into space and assembled automatically or by astronauts. This structure is exposed to space debris created by man. Explosive debris, remnants of engines, paint chips, coolant and other items lost during the work, moving about 20 km/s. There are millions of micrometeorites that circulate naturally around the Earth on every orbit.
The space station is in an orbit where. American experts estimate the probability of penetration of the pressurized by debris to 29% over 15 years and the likelihood of abandonment of the station is 8% and the loss of the station, and possibly loss of crew of 5%. These figures assume that the protections of anti-debris Progress and Soyuz are improved: if it is not the case the probability of perforation increases to 46%. These figures are considered pessimistic by the Russians who rely on the experience accumulated with the Mir station
Image: The International Space Station, is the largest structure ever created by man in space. It orbits 340 kilometers above sea level and is the subject of 2 debris alerts per day.
Anguish of the lonely man
An astronaut moves in free flight, about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Bruce McCandless became the first man to go so far from home space. Guided by a manned maneuvering unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured here, has floated freely in space, unattached. McCandless and Robert Stewart, NASA astronauts are the first to experience such a sensation at the mission 41-B, with the space shuttle in 1984. The MMU is powered by jet propulsion of nitrogen, used since then to help deploy and retrieve satellites. The MMU has a mass of 140 kilograms on Earth, in zero gravity, the MMU was replaced by the propulsion unit back, SAFER.
Image: The first free flight in space of a man with a maneuvering unit (MMU) in 1984. We can easily imagine the anxiety that a man feels in experience flying in this state of weightlessness. This spatial view of Earth shows us both the beauty and fragility of life on Earth.
ISS and the shuttles
The shuttles have contributed greatly to building the International Space Station, during the decade 2000-2010. We see this exceptional image, space shuttle Endeavour docked with the international space station. On 23 May , it brought back to Earth, Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratiev, Cady Coleman, NASA astronaut and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency. The last 3 spacecraft reach the end of life, worn by the multiple re-entry and the hundreds of millions of kilometers. The shuttles Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis have completed their fabulous careers. Discovery completed its 39th and final mission in February 2011 and made his final return to Earth, March 9, 2011 by landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, at 11:57. It is exposed at the National Air and Space Museum.
Image: Image of Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the international space station. The space shuttle was finally laid in May 2011 on the runway at Cape Canaveral in Florida. During his 16-day mission, it made one last visit to the International Space Station. Since its commissioning in 1992, space shuttle Endeavour has completed 25 flights, from a total of 299 days in space. Space Shuttle Discovery, the third space shuttle made its first flight August 30, 1984. Retired since March 9, 2011, it realized the orbiting Hubble telescope and the launch of the probe Ulysses. It was once pegged to the old station Mir and the ISS to five times. It has also deployed 26 satellites. As for the space shuttle Atlantis, it will make its final departure, July 8, 2011.
Movie night around the Earth from the sky
Every 90 minutes, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station live this extraordinary experience. They travel to low Earth orbit at 415 km altitude and travel the beautiful land areas that place under the station at a speed of 27 700 km/h or 7.7 km/s. In 2011, members of the crew took a series of videos of their journey around the Earth, looking "down" at night. These videos were merged to produce the accelerated video below cons, 5 minutes. This wonderful view of the Earth and the sky is 18 sequences, 18 "half" turns away in the night, away from direct sunlight. We see the aurora red, green auroras, the lights of many large cities, and stars in the background. Occasionally, there arises a portion of the space station itself, and the reorientation of solar panels. The Earth's atmosphere is distinctly colored by the glare of sunlight, all the videos in this series, avoid direct sunlight.
Image: These video clips were taken by the expedition 28 and 29 of the International Space Station, from August to October 2011. Image credit: NASA Johnson Space Center.
Space station is easily identifiable
The International Space Station photographed in perspective, before the Moon, January 4, 2012 from Houston. ISS running on a low orbit, between 330 and 420 km altitude around the Earth, passes sometimes in front of the moon which is between 363,300 km and 405,500 km from Earth. The International Space Station is recognizable in the night sky, easily, because it reflects the intense rays of the Sun, with a surface area of 2500 m2 of solar panels, which provide 110 kilowatts of electricity it needs to operate. With its 400 tons of technology, ISS is the largest artificial objects placed in Earth orbit. The satellite is 110 meters wide, 74 meters long and 30 meters high. His quick movement in the sky, the speed of 27 700 km / h or 7.7 km / s, corresponds roughly to a shift of one degree per second. ISS is 15 times a day around the Earth, which corresponds roughly to one revolution every 90 minutes. This type of image can be captured again until 2020, because it is possible that at that time, the station is deorbited.
The controlled station deorbiting is the responsibility of of NASA. It is envisaged that the cargo ship back into the lower layers of the atmosphere so that it disintegrates into small pieces and falls on Earth.