Questions tagged [iss]

Questions about the International Space Station, a habitable man-made low Earth orbit satellite whose first component was launched in 1998 and used to conduct experiments for a wide variety of research fields in a microgravity environment.

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How often does ISS require re-boosting to higher orbit?

I know that ISS, being in low Earth orbit, requires regular boosts. But I can't seem to find information on how often does this happen. Is it done during each resupply mission, only during some of ...
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27 votes
3 answers
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How hard do you have to throw something off the ISS to make it deorbit?

During Expedition 41 Reid Wiseman and Alexander Gerst replaced a failed pump on the outside of the ISS. I am guessing they took the broken pump back inside the ISS and returned it to earth in one of ...
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2 answers
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What is the ISS drag?

ISS constantly loses altitude to air drag and other forces (tidal, electromagnetic). While finding that rate in the sources isn't that hard, with orbital mechanics of altitude loss actually increasing ...
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32 votes
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Will the ISS need more docking ports?

Currently the ISS has two basic segments, the Russian and US sides. The Russian side has 4 docking ports. Usually occupied by 2 Soyuz, 1 or 2 Progress freighters or an ESA ATV vehicle. You can see ...
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11 votes
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Do antennae on the ISS have to constantly move to maintain data links?

In this question and answer pair I see that the ISS can maintain data links to earth through direct access to ground stations as well as through the TDRSS geostationary satellite network. What kind ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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How are the orientations of the ISS' eight independent solar arrays optimized?

I've noticed that in various photos and videos the orientation of the ISS' eight independent solar arrays are often moving, and usually some are different than others. 0th-order naive thinking would ...
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40 votes
4 answers
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Are there any safety procedures in place on the ISS in case of puncture?

The ISS is a huge (relatively) satellite which, according to NASA, is longer than a football field. I am curious about what would happen if the station's skin was punctured - perhaps by a careless ...
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27 votes
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How many times has there been 13 people inside the ISS and is it hard on the station?

I just saw this photo in @SF.'s answer it is ISS023-E-023513 STS-131 and Expedition 23. The full caption is below. Are there really 13 people on the ISS at one time? Is STS-131 the only shuttle ...
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11 votes
3 answers
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What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS?

Cubesats are (ir-)regularly deployed at very low velocity from the ISS, and they don't usually have propulsion. This tells me that the delta-v is enough to guarantee to those in charge that their ...
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43 votes
10 answers
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Why isn't a centrifuge used for astronauts on the space station?

One thing I've always wondered is why don't astronauts sleep in a kind of rotating bed that spins creating force? This would allow them to sleep and would be able to simulate earths gravity. Why don't ...
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45 votes
6 answers
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Can I see the ISS from the surface with the naked eye?

Can I see the International Space Station (ISS) from the surface with the naked eye? If yes, how can I determine that it really is the ISS?
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19 votes
4 answers
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Does the ISS have zenith-facing windows?

I was looking at the NASA image of the day today, and it made me wonder about the windows on the ISS. I often see pictures of Earth taken from the ISS, but I was wondering if they had any windows that ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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Can astronauts hear sounds during space walks for repairs?

We know there is no sound in space in a vacuum, but when an astronaut is outside on a spacewalk doing repairs, can they hear the tapping when they use a hammer or the sound of a power screwdriver etc.?...
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19 votes
1 answer
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What is the "ISS's Keep Out Sphere" and what is its radius?

The comment: In a similar vein, it would be interesting to know if going around the moon rather than to the ISS removes any legal hurdles. Do we have any questions covering the legal ramifications (...
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71 votes
6 answers
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Why does the ISS have to be destroyed?

ISS might be destroyed soon, de-orbiting for a controlled reentry into the Pacific Ocean. Why isn't simply pushed away from Earth to an outer stable orbit (not sure if it's possible) or even into an ...
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65 votes
3 answers
9k views

Is there no physical security in space, other than being in space?

I saw Gravity the other day and while visually and emotionally compelling, and besides the liberties taken with orbits, something else struck me as unrealistic, but I'm not sure if it is or isn't:...
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3 answers
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How close is the ISS to a closed system, in terms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen?

I found this diagram of the ISS ECLSS material flow and noticed the $CO_2$ being vented off the station. source Now, I understand this is outdated since they added a Sabatier reaction system to ...
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1 answer
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How is the ISS equipped to deal with the outbreak of a contagion?

Suppose one of the astronauts was a carrier for a disease that did not show up in the medical testing prior to flying up to the ISS. How would the outbreak of this contagion be dealt with?
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19 votes
1 answer
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Why would extra fuel be needed to de-orbit the ISS (if it comes to that)?

The BBC article The Astronaut Fighting to Save our Home in Space discusses “experienced astronaut, and astrophysicist Dr Michael Foale”'s exciting career aboard the Space Shuttle, Soyuz, Mir, and ISS, ...
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13 votes
3 answers
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How steady is the atmospheric drag force experienced by the ISS?

Suppose one wanted to modulate the power of a hypothetical, powerful ion thruster on the ISS to continuously compensate the atmospheric drag force in order to achieve near-perfect free-fall conditions ...
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What is this huge, red, blinking light structure on Earth seen from the ISS in this video?

The video ESA video Progress launch timelapse seen from space is of course striking for many reasons. However there is a strange, blinking light structure on Earth that's quite puzzling! I've added a ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Were there any STS missions that included maneuvers that might have photographed ISS's top side?

It looks like this answer is converging on a conclusive answer about a zenith-facing window on the ISS, and possibly also a window which might at least be able to offer a bit of a view of the zenith. ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Supply of liquid oxygen (LOX) maintained on the ISS? Kept cold using "space", or refrigerator?

One can transport and store oxygen more efficiently (volume and weight of tank) if it is liquid under the order of 1 atmosphere. Liquid oxygen (LOX) is kept cryogenic in insulated tanks for short ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Will the ISS have electric propulsion to maintain altitude? Is there enough power for it?

In April 2014 this comment was made below the question What propulsion methods does the ISS use for station-keeping?: In November they said in three years, so perhaps late 2016. Since such claims ...
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62 votes
7 answers
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Why is the breathing atmosphere of the ISS a standard atmosphere (at 1 atm containing nitrogen)?

The Wikipedia page for the International Space Station says that it has a fairly Earth-like, sea-level atmosphere: 21% oxygen, balance nitrogen at 101.3 kPa. Supposedly it's because a pure-oxygen ...
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44 votes
5 answers
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Are there any weapons in space?

We can break this down into two categories: For internal security purposes, does the ISS have any type of weapon on board? For global security purposes, are there any orbiting weapons (that we know ...
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43 votes
2 answers
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What's the baseball bat for? (seen in CRS-8 berthing NASA TV broadcast)

Watching the CRS-8 Berthing live broadcast on NASA TV I noticed a baseball bat resting on top of a console in the front left part of the room, so I took some screenshots. Looking closer, it seems to ...
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31 votes
4 answers
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Why would a box full of 1cm balls released into LEO be so scary to an engineer supporting the ISS? - (Updated)

update March 2018: I just saw this in Buzzfeed (Google sent me there, I don't normally read it): Rich People Will Soon Be Able To Buy Fake Meteor Showers On Demand. It seems this might happen in 2018. ...
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41 votes
4 answers
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When the ISS accelerates, do the astronauts feel it?

The ISS has thrusters to avoid debris and to combat orbital decay. Do the astronauts feel the station accelerating? Do they have to hold onto something and is it the same when they rotate the station ...
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45 votes
1 answer
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What would happen if a mutiny occurred on the International Space Station?

Historically, mutiny has often occurred in close-quarter situations. While the International Space Station (ISS) is not a military operation, the term mutiny is often used to refer any sort of ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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How are the astronauts in the ISS protected from solar flares?

The Sun emits electromagnetic radiation which may consist of UV, IR, X-rays and also the charge particles that are emitted from the sun which are harmful to humans. But during intense solar flares it ...
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7 votes
1 answer
621 views

What are the orbital mechanical consideration behind hand-launched nanosatellites from the ISS?

The NASA Spaceflight article Extended Russian EVA complete – conducts satellite deployments says: The first order of the day was for Ryazanskiy to head into the manual deployment of five ...
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5 votes
2 answers
683 views

Will the Neumann drive start testing aboard the ISS some time in 2018?

The 2016 Daily Mail article Radical ion rocket engine that could 'get to Mars and back on one tank of fuel' set to be tested on the ISS says: Neumann Drive achieves more than 11,000 seconds of ...
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10 votes
2 answers
799 views

Does any site track the mass of the ISS?

Watching the daily ISS live broadcast from NASA the PRO mentioned the specific mass of the ISS complex (today) and what it would be when the Soyuz leaves shortly. One can find out the mass of each ...
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Could an ISS astronaut photograph something like this 1km "Van Gogh" if they knew it was there?

At the end of December 2015, a giant "painting" made of 4 million color-sorted recycled bottles was put on display in Keelung, Taiwan. The Indian Express says it's 53 hectares, which is 530,000 square ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Was this large pieces of "space junk" just released from the ISS in the "nadir and retrograde" direction?

According to Space.com's 02-Feb-2018 article Cosmonauts Break Russian Spacewalk Record During Space Station Antenna Repair: The cosmonauts spent the day replacing an electronics box for a high-gain ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why are the ISS attitude values shown on these two web sites so different?

Here are screen captures from two sites that seem to be showing approximately live - or at least changing - telemetry from the ISS. They both say the spacecraft attitude is shown in degrees. Looking ...
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26 votes
6 answers
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Why does the ISS track appear to be sinusoidal?

Okay, time for a stupid question, but it keeps me up at night trying to figure it out. The ISS 'route' appears on paper as such: I am imagining it has to do with a combination of its orbit and the ...
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20 votes
3 answers
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How does astronaut activity from within affect a spacecraft?

Can physical activity from within a space craft affect it somehow? For example if somebody on the ISS performs repairs involving a lot of hammering, would it perhaps affect the station's orientation a ...
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21 votes
2 answers
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Why did Soyuz TMA-18M take two days to reach the ISS?

Typically, a Soyuz crew vehicle takes 4 orbits to reach the ISS, but the Soyuz TMA-18M took 34 orbits or 2 days to reach it. Why is there so much variation from typical missions?
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19 votes
2 answers
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What is the accuracy / uncertainty of Two Line Elements (TLEs)?

I use TLE sets supplied on this website to find the future position of satellites (well usually just the ISS) using the SGP4 propagation method implemented in C++. My question is: What is the ...
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30 votes
3 answers
7k views

Can the US Part of ISS survive independent of the Russian?

A new story came out today about Russia potentially preventing the US from using the ISS. One of the claims made was: "The Russian segment [of ISS] can exist independently from the American one. The U....
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16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Could you take a Cessna from the ISS to Earth?

The shuttle had a empty gross weight of 172,000 lb (78,000 kg), and the only feasible way shedding the 27,724 kilometres (17,227 mi) per hour, of the relative speed of the ISS is Aerobraking. A four ...
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12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are there any humanoid robots on board the ISS?

Are there any humanoid robots on board the International Space Station to help out its astronaut occupants? If not, are there any plans to send humanoid robots to the ISS?
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47 votes
1 answer
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Why vent $CO_2$ and $H_2$ waste products to space on ISS?

In this answer, it's mentioned that waste $CO_2$ and $H_2$ from the Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) are vented into space from ISS. Are there no other uses for this material ...
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  • 1,156
21 votes
1 answer
4k views

How is the International Space Station protected against orbital debris?

ISS is at an altitude of about 400 km (approximately). But there will be some of space debris at that altitude (since some of the space debris orbits decay over time). So the debris has a probability ...
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16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do ISS astronauts notice, or experience symptoms of elevated CO2 levels? Do they wear monitors regularly?

A recent (Sept. 2017) news item on the company website of Gas Sensing Solutions Innovative sensor technology assists NASA with vital wearable CO2 monitoring equipment caught my eye. A section of the ...
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  • 148k
12 votes
1 answer
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Did all of the Space Shuttles dock with multiple space stations or crewed spacecraft?

For example, the Space Shuttle Endeavour did dock with both MIR (bringing apple seeds) and the ISS. Did all of the shuttles dock with more than one space station and/or crewed spacecraft? above: ...
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  • 148k
12 votes
1 answer
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When does the ISS have a loss-of-signal?

The ISS has a camera mounted streaming live video from space (HDEV). From time to time, there is a blue screen visible, which is noted to be during times of "loss of signal". What exactly defines a "...
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11 votes
1 answer
366 views

Lowest ISS microgravity

In what position is the lowest point of microgravity on the ISS? Thought the answer was everywhere on the ISS but was told this was not right.
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