Circling the earth high above, the International Space Station (ISS) is the largest spacecraft ever built.
Sixteen countries are working together on the 60-billion-dollar station. Eleven European countries, Japan,
Russia, the United States, Canada, and Brazil are partners.
The ISS is made of many parts, called “modules”. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle. A
Russian rocket brought the first module to space in November, 1998. In July, 2000, the ISS received a
very important module, the Zvezda (Russian for “star”). That’s the station’s first living area.
The first crew to live at the station flew there on October 31, 2000. The plan is for a new crew to
replace the old one every four months.
The ISS is important for many reasons. It is an excellent place for scientific work. Spacecraft going
to the moon, Mars, or elsewhere may stop at the station for fuel and supplies. The ISS also helps to
improve world peace. It brings scientists, governments, and the people of the world together.
Scientists hope to use the ISS for 10 years or longer. It’s an exciting new step as we explore the
moon, the stars, and beyond.