SPACE STATIONS

A space station is a spacecraft designed to stay in orbit for many years. Conditions inside are carefully controlled: solar panels supply power, a comfortable atmosphere is maintained, and air and water are recycled. On board, astronaut-scientists conduct experiments, studying how the condition of weightlessness affects materials, people, plants, and animals. The INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION is a project by many countries working together.

Table 20. 

NAMECOUNTRYLAUNCH DATECOMMENTS
Salyut 1Soviet Union1971Visiting crew died on re-entry
SkylabUSA1973Visited by three crews
SpacelabEurope1983Carried in shuttle
MirRussia1986Date of first launch
ISSInternational1998Date of first launch

SKYLAB IN ORBIT

The United States launched its first space station, Skylab, in 1973. One of its solar panels was ripped off at launch, damaging the heat shield over the crew’s quarters. The first crew managed to repair the damage and stayed in orbit for 28 days. Later crews spent 56 and then 84 days on board.

MISSION TO MIR, 1995

In February 1986, Russia launched the first module of a space station that would remain in orbit for 15 years. It was named Mir (Peace). Five more modules were added over the years, carried into orbit by unmanned rockets. In 2001, Mir descended from orbit and broke up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

Circling in orbit 390 km (240 miles) above Earth is the biggest structure ever built in space, the International Space Station (ISS). The nations involved include the United States, the 14 countries of the European Space Agency, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been built by assembling its separate parts in orbit.

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Experiments in plant growth on the ISS are very important, as plants could become a food supply for long interplanetary flights of the future. Also, plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, and could filter air. The laboratories of the ISS are unique because experiments are carried out in conditions of microgravity (near weightlessness). This is giving new insights into many aspects of physics, chemistry, medicine, and biology.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

7 Home Remedies to Soothe Cold & Flu Symptoms
The AAP does not recommend giving over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to children under 4, so treating children's cold and flu symptoms naturally can be the best course of action. Read about some home remedies that might help.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

11 Awesome Thanksgiving Games & Activities for Families
Looking for fun Thanksgiving Day activities for the whole family? Check out 11 kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities that will bring your family together in the spirit of the holiday.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!