International Space Station

Fun Facts

ISS At Completion:

  • The ISS solar array surface will be large enough to cover the U.S. Senate Chamber more than three times over.
  • The ISS will be larger than a five-bedroom house.
  • The ISS will have an internal pressurized volume of 46,000 cubic feet, or about 1.5 Boeing 747s.
  • The solar arrays wingspan (240 ft) will be longer than that of a Boeing 777 model 200/300 model, which is 212 ft.
  • Fifty-two computers will control the systems on the ISS.
  • Forty-three space flights will have been conducted on three different types of launch vehicles over a five-year period.
  • Over 120 telephone-booth size rack facilities will be installed in the ISS for operating the spacecraft systems and research experiments.
  • The ISS will be about four times as large as the Russian space station Mir, and about five times as large as the U.S. Skylab.
  • The ISS will weigh almost one million pounds. That's the equivalent of more than 30 auto.
  • The ISS will measure 361 feet end-to-end. That's equivalent to the length of a football field including the end zones.
  • 2.6 million lines of software code on the ground will support 1.5 million lines of flight software code.
  • 8 miles of wire will connect the electrical power system.
  • In the International Space Station's U.S. segment alone, 1.5 million lines of flight software code will run on 44 computers communicating via 100 data networks transferring 400,000 signals (e.g. pressure or temperature measurements, valve positions, etc.).
  • The ISS will manage 20 times as many signals as the Space Shuttle.
  • Main U.S. control computers have 1.5 gigabytes of total main hard drive storage in U.S. segment compared to modern PCs, which have 20-40 gigabyte hard drives.
  • The entire 55-foot robot arm assembly will be able to lift 220,000 pounds, which is the weight of a Space Shuttle orbiter.
  • The 110 kilowatts of power for the ISS will be supplied by an acre of solar panels.
  • Over the next 20 years, there will be 260 ISS spacewalks. There have only been 138 spacewalks in NASA history.


  • The Expedition Five crew conducted 25 scientific investigations including a wide variety of experiments in human life sciences, physical sciences, commercial space product development, Earth observation, as well as education and technology demonstrations. Many are carried over from previous Expeditions. Some have been returned to Earth for further study. Expedition Six conducted 18 experiments during its 5 1/2 months on the station (in addition to working on those that require long-term investigation). While consisting of only two crew, Expedition Seven continues to perform experiments in all of the above categories.
  • In November 2002, two new scientific racks were delivered for use in the Destiny Laboratory, eight resupply stowage racks and five resupply stowage platforms. Total crew research time to date totals more than 1,250 hours.
  • Presently, seven research racks are aboard the station with an additional five being built or already at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for flight.
  • For researchers in the field of earth science, the ISS provides an excellent viewing platform as it crosses the same area of the planet every three days and covers more than 90 percent of the populated Earth.
  • A third of ISS resources will be devoted to commercial endeavors, stimulating business here on Earth.

Down-to-Earth Comparisons:

  • The ISS effort involves more than 100,000 people in space agencies and at 500 contractor facilities in 37 U.S. states and in 16 countries. That's almost half of the entire population of North Dakota.
  • Building the ISS in space is like trying to change a spark plug or hang a shelf, wearing roller skates and two pairs of ski gloves with all your tools, screws and materials tethered to your body so they don't drop.
  • Living and working on the ISS is like building one room of a house, moving in a family of three and asking them to finish building the house while working full time from home.

Additional Facts & Figures:

Additional vital statistics are tracked by NASA at