Orbiting Earth at 17,239 Miles Per Hour: Amazing Scenes from the International Space Station

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Image: Chris Hadfield/NASA
The Cupola module with its panoramic observation window

The pressurized areas of the ISS have an air pressure similar to that of sea level on Earth. Meanwhile, electrical power is provided by solar arrays made up of two-sided cells, which allows them to collect light from the sun as well as the light reflected up from Earth. Rechargeable nickel-hydrogen batteries also supply constant power when the station is in Earth’s shadow for 35 minutes of each one-and-a-half-hour orbit. As it’s used, all this electricity is transformed into heat that is collected by ammonia-filled pipes. This is transported to exterior radiators to cool down in space before being returned to the station.

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Image: Chris Hadfield/NASA
The outside of the ISS

Because this is a truly international effort, the various parts of the ISS are operated and monitored from Earth by their corresponding agencies. To give you an idea of how spread out the operation is, NASA’s Mission Control Center is located in Houston, Texas, the Russian Roskosmos Mission Control Center is situated in Korolyov, Moscow Oblast, and the JAXA JEM Control Center is in Tsukuba, Japan. Scientific data and telemetry is communicated to these ground control centers around the world via radio link. ISS crewmembers also use audio and visual radio links to communicate with flight controllers, other crewmembers and their families.

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