s of Nov. 2, the International Space Station (ISS) has been in continuous use for 10 years. The space platform was sent into space in 1998, but the first astronaut and cosmonaut set up home there in November, 2000. Since then, the only time it has been unoccupied was when its crew members were doing spacewalks. The station is still incomplete, and the U.S. is set to deliver its last major contribution — a windowless storage room — next week. Here are some of the figures behind the extraordinary achievement:
Total number of orbits the ISS has made around Earth in its decade with humans on board
Amount of time it takes for the ISS to travel around the globe
4.8 miles per second
The speed at which the ISS orbits the Earth
Number of times the sun rises and sets during a "day" onboard the ISS
Distance above the Earth's surface that the ISS orbits
The amount the Space Station has spent to build and maintain, making it one of the costliest single objects ever built. The U.S. has contributed around half of that cost.
Number of countries that have contributed to the construction and costs of the ISS
Overall length of the ISS from tip to tail, making it about as long as a football field
33,023 cubic feet
The volume of the Space Station's interior — 1.5 times the volume of a Boeing 747
Number of habitable modules — rooms, essentially — that make up the ISS
Length of time the first inhabitants — an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts — spent onboard after the station's opening in 2000
The record total amount of time — two years and two months — spent in space by cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, first in the Mir space station and then on the ISS
Number of inhabitants the ISS typically has now. Each will live on the station for six months.
Number of inhabitants the ISS housed on July 17, 2009, during the visit of the shuttle Endeavour. That's a record for any single spacecraft.
Number of astronauts who have visited the ISS, including billionaire "space tourist" Dennis Tito
Number of scientific experiments conducted onboard during the last decade
Number of onboard exercise devices named after a Comedy Central host. The ISS named a treadmill after Stephen Colbert after he got his fans to submit his name in an online poll to name a new node — and won. The Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (C.O.L.B.E.R.T.) has been on board since September 2009.
The year the space station is likely to be decommissioned
Sources: Scientific American, MSNBC, Space.com, Wired, New Scientist
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Why is American internet so slow?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- The new bride who had a horrifying allergic reaction to her husband's sperm
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
5 surprising facts about left-handed people
Subscribe to the Week