The following map shows the different types of power plugs and sockets used by countries all over the world:

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The International Space Station (ISS) is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). Clearly, from the above map, it can be seen that almost all these agencies have different types of power plugs and sockets.

Which type of power plug do we use on the ISS? Do we use different types on the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS) of the ISS? Or did all countries agreed on a new "International Type" to be used as a standard for the ISS? If yes, do astronauts and cosmonauts carry International Adapter (or Universal Adapter, or Travel Adapter) like we do when we fly to different countries? I think they will be having adapters on the ISS itself because even though these are of less mass, why to unnecessarily waste the energy every time?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Answered here if someone wants to get started on an answer quora.com/… $\endgroup$
    – mothman
    Oct 27, 2019 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ My understanding is that any electrical/electronic equipment that goes to the ISS has to be specially adapted/certified for the purpose. Astronauts can't just take random electrical items with them like travellers on earth can. So there isn't any real reason to be compatible with any particular power system used on earth. $\endgroup$ Apr 19, 2021 at 23:37

2 Answers 2


The power system on the US side of the International Space Station (ISS) is a DC system. It is divided into the "primary" (solar array / battery side) and "secondary" (regulated user power side) systems.

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Image source: ISS Familiarization Manual

The crew can obtain 120 VDC "secondary power" from the Utility Outlet Panels (UOP), pictured here.

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Image source: ISS Electrical Power System Training Manual

These panels, distributed through the US side of the station, provide sockets to plug user equipment into. They use multi-pin Cannon plugs, as pictured. In addition to power, the UOPs also provide an interface to the ISS's 1553 data bus system.

If alternating current (AC) is needed (for example, for the vaccum cleaner), inverter boxes are provided.

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The AC devices also use Cannon plugs, as pictured.

  • $\begingroup$ Why is it wrapped in kapton? $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Apr 20, 2021 at 4:37

The power system Roscosmos side of the International Space Station (ISS) is a 28V DC system.

Russian socket:

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