International Space Station Program Shield Pin
The International Space Station is a large, inhabited Earth satellite that more than 15 nations are building in space. The first part of the station was launched in 1998, and the first full-time crew -- one American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts -- occupied the station in 2000.
The International Space Station orbits Earth at an altitude of about 250 miles (400 kilometers). The orbit extends from 52 degrees north latitude to 52 degrees south latitude.
The station will include about eight large cylindrical sections called modules. Each module is being launched from Earth separately, and astronauts and cosmonauts are connecting the sections in space. Eight solar panels will supply more than 100 kilowatts of electric power to the station. The panels are being mounted on a metal framework 360 feet (109 meters) long.