What is the ISS? Print
Friday, 20 November 2009 15:01

Photo courtesy of NASA
Citadel graduate Randy Brenik, ’89, and the other five crew members aboard the space Atlantis arrived at the International Space Station this week, but what is the ISS and how does it affect life on earth? 


The ISS is a research facility that orbits the earth.  The endeavor, which began in 1998 when the first two modules were launched and joined together in orbit, is the work of more than 100,000 people from 15 nations.

The first crew arrived in 2000—one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts.   Expedition 20 and 21 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott is the final astronaut scheduled to use a space shuttle for transportation to or from the ISS.  Stott will return to Earth with the crew of the Atlantis.


Photo courtesy of NASA
ISS crews have consumed 23,000 meals and 20,000 snacks.  Their favorite meals are shrimp cocktail, tortillas, barbecue beef brisket, breakfast sausage links, chicken fajitas, vegetable quiche, macaroni and cheese, candy-coated chocolates and cherry blueberry cobbler.  And lemonade is the preferred beverage.


The ISS has increased human understanding living in space which is critical for future space exploration, yet at the same time everything from the station’s construction to the experiments conducted onboard, the ISS is enhancing life on earth.  Just one example of this is a plant-growth experiment without soil.  In the sterile environment plants grew faster and disease-free with 90 percent less water leading to the development of a commercial aeroponic system.


For more information on the International Space Station, check out NASA's ISS fact sheet.