The bedrooms are the size of a telephone booth, there’s no running water, and the nearest bus station is 250 miles away. This doesn’t sound like a very attractive place to live, but a room here is highly coveted: Many people dream of living on the International Space Station. It’s like no place on Earth. On board you can float around freely without gravity and see astonishing views of the planet.
In 1998, the first part of the International Space Station, or ISS, was put in orbit around Earth. Over the years, many more pieces called modules were added. Since then, 103 people have called it home for an average of six months at a time and 224 more have visited for shorter stays. Up to six astronauts can live and work aboard the ISS at any time.
The ISS orbits Earth at an altitude of roughly 250 miles. Covering about the same area as a football field, the ISS is the largest human-made structure in space.
“It’s a spacecraft, a home, and a laboratory all at once,” says retired NASA astronaut David Wolf, who helped build the ISS.