International Space Station (ISS):
A widely circulated comment by the chief of Russian space agency Dimitry Rogozin has ignited fears that the tension following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have consequences for the International Space Station (ISS).
- He said that Russia could respond to the US sanctions by letting the ISS fall from space. He said the ISS could drop over US or Europe, or over India and China. Its orbital flight path usually does not take it over most of the Russian territory.
- The International Space Station is the only operational space laboratory as of now, orbiting the earth in a trajectory that is about 400 km above the land surface.
- It is operated by more than 15 partner countries. Apart from Russia and the United States, Canada, Japan and several members of the European Space Agency are partners in the ISS.
- The football-field-sized ISS travels at a speed of about 28,000 km per hour. It completes one journey around the earth in about one and a half hours. In one day, therefore, it makes about 16 trips around the world.
- The ISS is not the first space station to be built and operated. Several smaller space stations have been used earlier, the most famous of which have been the Russian Mir space station that operated in the 1980s, and the American Skylab.
- The ISS has been in operation since 1998 and is expected to continue at least till 2028. Russia, however, has indicated that it might pull out of the collaboration earlier, possibly by 2024.