Glossary term: Space Station

Description: A space station is a spacecraft in an orbit for a substantial period of time that provides a long-term home for humans in space. Specifically, it provides suitable living conditions, from breathable air to well-regulated temperature. All space stations so far have been dependent on regular deliveries of food and water. So far, space stations are or have been in low Earth orbits, with the International Space Station orbiting around 420 kilometers above sea level. An orbiting station is in free fall, with the astronauts, equipment, and space station all experiencing the same acceleration from the Earth's gravity. As the astronauts and equipment inside the space station are accelerating at the same magnitude and direction as their surroundings in the space station they experience the sensation of weightlessness, even though they are not actually weightless. This sensation is often called microgravity, although this name can be confusing as the Earth's gravitational pull is still substantial on the space station, astronauts, and equipment. Space stations are primarily used for research, notably on the effect of microgravity on human beings; an important preparation for further stages of space exploration.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".

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International Space Station

International Space Station

Caption: The International Space Station (ISS) is in orbit around the Earth. Different crews with personnel from many countries have been working there constantly since 2000. The ISS is a laboratory that provides a microgravity environment for experiments in engineering, science, and medicine. The entire structure is more than 100 metres long and flies at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometres above ground.
Credit: NASA credit link

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