The International Space Station (ISS) is among the greatest international cooperative endeavors in the history of engineering, science, and technology. The permanently crewed orbital laboratory enables scientific research supporting innovation on Earth and future deep space exploration. The platform’s external space and interior microgravity environment support fundamental and applied physical, chemical and biological investigations paving the way to profound discovery and commercial applications.
In addition to enabling diverse research in low-Earth orbit, the ISS serves as our gateway to deep space destinations including our moon, LaGrange points, asteroids and ultimately Mars. Engineers use this unique test bed to evaluate advanced technology and systems needed as we trek beyond Earth. It is also the only facility that allows researchers to investigate the physiological and psychological effects of long duration spaceflight on humans in preparation for deep space endeavors.
A National Laboratory
In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for cutting-edge research improving life on Earth. The ISS U.S. National Laboratory offers an unparalleled opportunity to understand how microgravity and the hostilities of the space environment influence physical, chemical and biological processes. Researchers leverage these unique effects to better understand fundamental scientific phenomena, advance commercial product development and expedite innovation across diverse disciplines on Earth.
The orbital laboratory is available for use by other U.S. government agencies beyond NASA and by academic and private institutions. The ISS National Laboratory utilization model promotes streamlined access to the permanent microgravity setting as well as the varied environments of space.
Boeing is the prime contractor for the ISS. In addition to designing and building all the major U.S. elements, Boeing is responsible for ensuring the successful integration of hardware and software – including components from international partners – as well as for providing sustaining engineering. Boeing also provides research integration support and payload development services to enable full utilization of ISS until at least 2024.
For more information see the Boeing ISS Product Card (PDF) and Benefits to Humanity (PDF).