We know they have at least one printer on the ISS – that's NASA-supplied so it would be in the US Orbital Segment. Presumably there is a printer in the Russian Orbital Segment as well. (Mir had a teletype.)

My question is – what paper size do they use on the ISS – A4, US Letter, or a mix? I assume that if Roscosmos has a printer they'd want to load it with A4; but would NASA use A4 in their printer so the whole of ISS uses a standard paper size? Or would they stick to US Letter since that's what NASA is used to?

(Also, I guess there is some argument that something called the "International Space Station" ought to prefer the international standard paper size.)

  • $\begingroup$ different but related: Was this printer shown the ISS in 2015 built specially to work in microgravity? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 25, 2021 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ I like this question, but I can't help but wonder - what motivated you to ask it? $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Mar 25, 2021 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ They use it to print out procedures, which on the ground are US letter, but I can't find anything to confirm that's what is used up there. Cool question! $\endgroup$ Mar 25, 2021 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ IMO, a useful answer will primarily address the physical paper sizes available on the ISS, as virtually all "modern" printers can handle a plethora of formats... $\endgroup$
    – Digger
    Apr 25, 2021 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Starshipisgoforlaunch please stop making inconsequential edits to the question. "My" is fine. "So, my" isn't different (and I know for a fact that there are people who consider it incorrect). $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Feb 22 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


Short answer: It is probably Letter

Long answer: You are, in fact, correct that there is an American printer and a Russian printer. As for the Russian printer, that information is quite hard to get to. However, we know that the American printer is a HP Envy 5600. It does best with either Letter, Legal, 4x6 inches, 5x7 inches, or 8x10 inches. A4 is approximately 8.27 by 11.69 inches. When I said before that the printer does best I meant that there are settings in the printer to set to those sizes (and therefore leaves no extra whitespace). However, the printer can get up to 10x14, just with a bunch of wasted whitespace. Being that it cost a lot to launch something into space, NASA generally will have every component of the ISS be as mass efficent and optimized as possible (over the approximately 100 thousand paper printed on the ISS, this mass adds up). The 3 most common North American paper sizes are Tabloid, Letter, and Legal. Tabloid is 11x17, which is bigger than the maximum paper size for the printer. Legal is 8.5x14 inches and Letter is 8.5x11 inches. Both would leave no whitespace on the printer. Letter is more common for government purposes. Finally, Letter has been used for all other American space missions to date. So, while we don't know for sure, we can make a guess that the American printer probably used Letter.

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    $\begingroup$ Not looking for guesses here. $\endgroup$ Feb 20 at 13:07

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