International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, docked in permanent orbit around Earth, which five separate space agencies work on collaboratively: the US, Russian, European, Japanese and Canadian ones. That said, Russia has announced it’ll be withdrawing from the ISS in 2024 2028, in order to concentrate their efforts on their own, solo, space program.

The ISS arose out of negotiations, beginning in 1993, to merge the US’s plans for a space station named “Freedom” and Russia’s for a replacement to the preexisting USSR-era space station, Mir. Construction began on the joint project in 1998, and the effort was joined by the European, Japanese and Canadian space agencies, as mentioned. The ISS has been inhabited continuously since 2000, with a current crew of seven (three Americans, three Russians and an Italian).

The ISS is planned to operate until 2031, at which point it’s intended to bring it down for a controlled crash into the Pacific Ocean.

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