The ISS and the docked space shuttle Endeavour seen from the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as it left the ISS for Earth (photo: dpa/NASA)

Geopolitics: The International Space Station - a future in research

The International Space Station is the single most expensive engineering project in history and one of the most complex pieces of machinery ever assembled. Now its construction is complete and NASA's space shuttles have been retired – the ISS looks to years ahead as an international orbiting research laboratory and a base from which lessons learned from astronauts’ time onboard will help in the planning of manned missions to the Moon, Mars or asteroids.

THE International Space Station (ISS), a habitable man-made research satellite which orbits the Earth between an altitude of 278 kilometres (173 miles) and 460 kilometres (286 miles), is the most ambitious global space project in hist...

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Dr. Emily Baldwin
The ISS has been occupied continually since November 2000, typically with between three and six astronauts living on board in so-called 'Expeditions' that last up to six months
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