NASA's propaganda in favour of the ISS:


Space Station is one of the most exciting and challenging international programs leading the world into a new millennium and providing inspiration for future generations.

  • US-led, single largest international aerospace project ever undertaken by humankind.
  • Assembly involves complex on-orbit operations and unprecedented hardware/software integration.
  • Fosters peaceful relations among the 16 participating countries by building trust and sharing mutual goals for the benefit of all peoples.
  • An international human experiment - an exciting "city in space" - a place where we will learn to live and work "off planet" alongside our international partners.


Space Station will be a unique world-class laboratory providing an international platform for advances in science and technology.


Space Station will enable the creation of new commercial enterprises that can use the environment, technologies, and research applications of space to build profit-based private business.


Space Station serves as a virtual classroom in space to the benefit of educators and students alike.

  • Inspires in a new generation a sense of wonder and inquisitiveness about the world and the universe in which they live.
  • Supports educators in stimulating students in the study of science, mathematics, technology, engineering, and geography.
  • Students and educators will not only benefit from the knowledge gained by researchers aboard the International Space Station, but will be able to actively participate in that research.


Space Station is the gateway to human space exploration and meets the deep-seated need of people throughout history to explore the unknown, to understand their world and the universe, and to apply that experience for the benefit of all here on Earth.

  • Provides the foundation for the future exploration and development of space.
  • Allows the study of long-term effects of weightlessness on the human body and testing of new technologies for application to future human space exploration.
  • A testbed to understand and adjust our home methods before sending humans to Mars and beyond.
  • Allows critical technology research in fluids, combustion, life support systems, and the radiation environment, which is needed for future human space exploration away from Earth.

Copyright/reference info:

Most of this information came from the NASA website, however their policy statement at indicates that it may be freely used for non-profit purposes as long as their Copyright is acknowledged. So don't sue me!

ISS Mission Control Team

This is the group that occupies the Blue Flight Control room at NASA's Johnson Space Center during Space Shuttle missions to the station, and soon during actual station occupancy. The positions are identified by acronyms and/or nicknames, some dating back to the first manned rocket launches.

  • Flight: Short for 'Flight Commander,' this is the leader of the mission control team and the final 'decision maker.'
  • TOPO: Trajectory OPerations. Responsible for Shuttle/Station orbit parameters, reboosts, reorientation, etc.
  • RIO: Russian Interface Operator serves to link the U.S. and Russian operations teams.
  • EVA: ExtraVehicular Ops is responsible for all spacewalks, EVA gear monitoring, EVA planning, etc.
  • GC: Ground Controller maintains all ground operations in support of the mission, such as ground station relays, monitoring Ground Control equipment and systems, etc.
  • CATO: Comm And Tracking Officer. Monitors all station on-orbit communications and telemetry systems.
  • CAPCOM: Spacecraft Communicator (from CAPsule COMmunications, used in early spaceflight) this officer is responsible for all communications with Shuttle and Station crew, serving as prime comm link (the familiar voice).
  • OP: Operations Planner. Resonsible for developing, implementing and monitoring crew activities and work schedules when the shuttle is not docked to the station.
  • ACO: Assembly and Checkout Officer. Responsible for managing all Station construction, assembly, activation, and checkout ops.
  • ODIN: Onboard Data, Interfaces and Networks is in charge of all Station computers, caution and warning systems, and interfacing data with international partners.
  • OSO: Operations Support Officer, handles all on-orbit maintenance and support activity including procedure development.
  • ECLSS: Environmental Control and Life Support Systems officer, who deals with the assembly, checkout and monitoring of all lifesupport aboard.
  • ROSO: Robotics Systems Operator. In charge of the Station robotic arm and its associated maintenance assembly and now Robonaut.
  • PHALCON: Power, Heating, Articulation, Lighting and CONtrol. Manages all electrical power available to the Station for operations and maintenance.
  • THOR: THermal Operations. Responsible for managing and monitoring the Station's thermal control systems (air conditioning).
  • ADCO: Attitude Determination and Control Officer, who handles and monitors all Station guidance and maneuvering systems. Distinct from TOPO in that they run the systems, not the orbit planning.
  • PAO: Public Affairs Officer. Acknowledging the role of the Station as grand theater, this desk at the rear of Blue Control faces any observers or cameras and the occupant acts as commentator.

...and of course, a cast of thousands around the world without whom the thing wouldn't work at all, instead of working sorta. from various points of the NASA manned flight page at

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Noded as part of the Spacecraft Information Database Project -- Created 11/6/00

International Space Station (International)


Alternate Designations: ISS, Space Station Alpha, Freedom
Major Contractors: NASA, Russian Space Agency, NASDA, European Space Agency, Canadian Space Agency
Nation of Origin: None; shared international project
Used By: USA, Russian Federation, European Union, Japan, Canada, Brazil
Number in Use: 1
Launch Sites: Baikoner Cosomodrome (Russian Federation), Kennedy Space Center (USA)
Project Status: Under Construction
Expected Date of Completion: April 2006


Note: Figures given are for the completed station.
Length: 88.4 meters (290 feet)
Height: 43.6 meters (143 feet)
Wingspan: 108.5 meters (356 feet)
Volume: 1303 cubic meters (43,000 cubic feet)
Weight: ~ 1 Million pounds


Crew: 7
Mission Duration: ~ 25 Years
Orbital Altitude: 220 Miles


The International Space Station is a joint product of the American, Japanese, Russian, Brazillian and European Union governments, intended to be a peaceful platform for scientific experiments and a jumping-off point for possible manned missions to the Moon and Mars. The project was begun in May of 1982 when NASA announced a task force dedicated to the design and development of a space station project to follow the Space Transportation System. This space station was intended to be born of international cooperation between the European Space Agency, the Japanese government, Canada and the United States.

In 1984, President Reagan gave the go-ahead for ISS construction to begin in his January 1984 State of the Union address: "Our next large target is to develop a new frontier based on the pioneer spirit. I command our nation to construct a permanent manned space station within ten years." Unfortunately, the United States failed to carry out his instructions in time, and assembly of the ISS in orbit did not begin for another fifteen years. Reagan also called for international cooperation on the project. In 1985, Japan and Canada officially agreed to participate.

In 1993, after several budget cutbacks and minor redesigns of the ISS, Russia joined the ISS program and American President Bill Clinton, along with the US Congress, demanded that NASA redesign the space station from the ground up, to reduce strain on the federal budget and increase international cooperation. Several possible designs for the ISS were proposed; in the end the proposal designated "Alpha" was selected.

Construction continued in the various participating nations, but orbital assembley of the station was delayed, largely due to funding problems for the Russian-provided modules. Finally, the Russian Federation launched the first module of the International Space Station atop a Proton-class expendable launch vehicle on November 20, 1998 CE. The first module, designated Zarya by the Russian government, provides living quarters and station-keeping thrusters for the space station during its assembly phase. Unfortunately, the Zarya module has been plagued with malfunctions, most of which were not resolved until the first permanent station crew arrived on October 30, 2000 CE.

Now that assembly has finally begun, and the station now has its first crew, the project will not be proxmired prior to completion. Hopefully, the International Space Station will provide not just a facility for learning about the universe, but a springboard for further exploration.

Credits and Further Reading

For more information, read:
  • NASA's official International Space Station website ( (Hard data was obtained here)

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The modules for the International Space Station come from 16 nations, the US and Russia are the main players. The other partners are Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency (ESA), which itself is made up of eleven countries. Brazil will provide a series of smaller hardware items.

The main parts of the ISS are

Functional Cargo Block

The first part of the ISS, launched by Russia in Novemeber 1998. Also called Zarya, which means sunrise. It contains the propulsion, command and control systems.


The first US module, Unity. was launched on the Space Shuttle two weeks after Zarya. It is station's main connecting module with six ports.

Russian service module

The 13 metre (42 feet) service module, Zvezda, contains the living quarters, power control and life support systems for the first ISS crew. It consists of three pressurised compartments and has 14 windows.

Columbus Orbital Facility

This module, built by the ESA, will serve as a pressurised laboratory and will provide transport vehicles to supply the station, called Automated Transfer Vehicles.

Robotic arm

Canada is providing a 17 metre (55 feet) long robotic arm called the Mobile Servicing System.

Japanese Experiment Module

The National Space Development Agency of Japan is building the JEM which will provides a pressurised laboratory and an external platform for up to 10 unpressurised experiments.


Six items, used mainly for carrying cargo will be provided by the Brazilian Space Agency.

Summarised from the bbc web site

This is a report I wrote for Sophmore english class. It's not good. I spent many a sleepless night writing this, so if you steal it I will not like you very much at all.

I don't think having a guy named goat_attack in your works cited adds to your credibility.


When the topic of space stations is brought up, one inevitably thinks of the graceful spinning wheels shown in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey (2001: A Space Odyssey). While the space station featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey has a magical, dreamlike quality. Undoubtedly this is what Ronald Reagan imagined when he proposed the construction of a space station (Kluger 90). The International Space Station has been nothing less than a nightmare to all involved. The International Space station has been plagued by problems: cost overruns, construction delays, and heavy criticism; these problems shed serious doubt on the practicality of the international space station.

Budget has always been one of the central issues of the International Space station. When the station was first conceived one of it’s greatest assets was it’s price: eight billion dollars from design to completion (Kluger 90). Unfortunately, this figure has turned out to be wildly inaccurate. A more recent estimate has placed the final cost to Nasa at twenty-four billion (Anselmo, NASA 27). Ten billion alone has been spent on design and redesign (Kluger 90), the remainder is being spent on construction. The majority of these budget problems has been due to Russia. The Russian space program has been troubled by a severe lack of funding, only 20 million of the 384 million dollars needed was supplied (Anselmo, White 26). Cash has been so tight at Balikonur Space Center that many employees are not paid, and, as a result, they are forced to steal equipment and rations meant for the ISS to feed themselves (Kluger 88).

One of the many items that Russia promised but has had severe problems paying for is the Science Power Platform. The SPP would have included gyroscopes for rotating the station and an array of solar panels . It was discovered that the Russians would not be able to launch the SPP due to it’s weight. NASA agreed to launch the SPP in exchange for the development of a new supply vehicle. Russia canceled the supply vehicle, now the launch of the SPP will cost the USA one billion dollars (Oberg199).

The Zvezda service module has been the greatest problem to ISS’ budget so far. The completion of Zvezda became worrying enough that NASA paid 170 million dollars to have a Navy spacecraft converted into an Interim Control Module (Mari 71). The Zvezda module was finally delivered in July 2000, making the ICM unnecessary (International Space Station Assembly).

Another component that Russia has may be unable to provide is a pair of Soyuz modules that would act as lifeboats in case of an emergency. As a result NASA is now being forced to design an emergency return vehicle of it’s own (Oberg 120). In each of these instances America has been forced to pay. NASA has been forced to cut it’s aeronautics budget. The high speed research program, which was a high priority projects in the early Clinton Administration, and the Advanced Subsonic Technology program was also canceled to draw money toward Russia (Anselmo, Space Station Eats Up Aeronautics Funding 31).

NASA claims that much of the money lost to Russia can be made up through commercialization of the ISS labs. Microgravity manufacture, biotechnology research, and Molecular-Beam Epitaxy are some ideas, which NASA believes that will help to pay for ISS. Unfortunately many of these are simply impractical: production in microgravity is extremely expensive due to the cost of shuttle launches, biotechnology research can be done on earth with comparable results, and MBE is simply impossible due to gasses near the station (Beardsley 66). The Japanese Experiment Module is scheduled for installation in February 2004 (International Space Station Assembly), this means that any the use of ISS as a laboratory is impossible until 2004. Commercialization of ISS is unfeasible or simply impossible.

Budgetary problems are the greatest and most pressing problems currently, these problems, in turn, lead to more problems such as delays. Once again the blame falls on Russia. This delay was caused by the construction of the Zvezda service module, which was heavily under funded, resulting in long delays.

The International Space station has come under heavy opposition, primarily from scientists. Both the Space Science Board and the American Physical Society have deemed the ISS unnecessary (Mari 76-77). The reason behind this fierce opposition is due almost entirely to funding. Many scientists believe that the same research which will be done in the ISS’ labs can easily be done cheaper and more efficiently through the use of unmanned space craft. According to Christopher Mari: “Space research itself is far more cost-effective when done by satellites and probes, several of which can be launched for the price of a single space-station resupply mission (81).”

All the problems which have manifested themselves so far are an early indicator of the impracticality of the International space station. Budget overruns, construction delays, and criticism in such an early stage of construction may just be the beginning of the ISS’ problems. One cannot help drawing parallels between the International Space Station and HAL, the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey, both were built with good intentions, and both have become nothing less than nightmares (2001: A Space Odyssey).


I'll try to find my works cited ASAP.

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