Want to tour the International Space Station? You’re in luck!
The International Space Station is nearly complete. The STS 130 mission, flying the Endeavour shuttle, is bringing up the European-built Node 3 (Colbert) and a seven-pane cupola that will provide bay window views of Earth.
The ISS is a synthesis of several space station projects that includes the American Freedom, the Soviet/Russian Mir-2, the European Columbus and the Japanese Kibo. Budget constraints led to the merger of these projects into a single multi-national programme.
The station is maintained at an orbit between 278 km (173 mi) and 460 km (286 mi), and completes 15.7 orbits per day. The ownership and use of the space station is established in intergovernmental treaties.