International Space Station ISS

The ISS – hu­man­i­ty's largest out­post in space

The International Space Station, October 4, 2018
The In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion, Oc­to­ber 4, 2018
Image 1/5, Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

The International Space Station, October 4, 2018

This pic­ture was tak­en by the mem­bers of ISS Ex­pe­di­tion Crew 56 as they were leav­ing the ISS in the Soyuz space­craft to fly back to Earth.
Observing Earth from the ISS
Ob­serv­ing Earth from the ISS
Image 2/5, Credit: NASA

Observing Earth from the ISS

Mul­ti-Us­er Sys­tem for Earth Sens­ing (MUS­ES), the first com­mer­cial Earth-sens­ing plat­form on the ISS, will fur­ther in­crease the Space Sta­tion's re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties. DLR is de­vel­op­ing and sup­ply­ing a vis­i­ble/near-in­frared imag­ing spec­trom­e­ter, which, among many oth­er tasks, will pro­vide in­valu­able in­for­ma­tion about the at­mo­sphere over the oceans and their bio-geo­phys­i­cal com­po­si­tion.
AMS is hunting for particles
AMS is hunt­ing for par­ti­cles
Image 3/5, Credit: NASA

AMS is hunting for particles

In­stalled out­side the ISS, the Al­pha Mag­net­ic Spec­trom­e­ter (AMS) par­ti­cle de­tec­tor is search­ing for dark mat­ter. The project, which is fund­ed by the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR), de­tects 16 bil­lion cos­mic ray par­ti­cles ev­ery year.
Spacewalk during STS-115 mission, September 2006
Space­walk dur­ing STS-115 mis­sion, Septem­ber 2006
Image 4/5, Credit: NASA

Spacewalk during STS-115 mission, September 2006

The pic­ture shows Cana­di­an as­tro­nauts Steven G. MacLean and Daniel C. Bur­bank in the sec­ond of a to­tal of three EVAs (Ex­trave­hic­u­lar Ac­tiv­i­ty) that were per­formed dur­ing the STS-115 mis­sion. The two spe­cial­ists are trans­lat­ing along the side of one of the sta­tion's truss­es.
ISS with the blackness of space and Earth's horizon, November 2007
ISS with the black­ness of space and Earth's hori­zon, Novem­ber 2007
Image 5/5, Credit: NASA

ISS with the blackness of space and Earth's horizon, November 2007

Back­dropped by the black­ness of space and Earth's hori­zon, the In­ter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion (ISS) is seen from Space Shut­tle Dis­cov­ery as the two space­craft be­gin their rel­a­tive sep­a­ra­tion. The pic­ture was tak­en dur­ing the STS-120 mis­sion on 5 Novem­ber 2007.

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest technology project of all time – humanity's outpost in space. At the same time, it is a orbiting laboratory that provides unprecedented possibilities for scientific and industrial research.

The ISS has proven that peaceful international use of space is both possible and beneficial to all partners, and even delays and technical problems have not changed this. On the contrary, this ambitious project continues with enormous commitment. Ever since it was first occupied on 2 November 2000, astronauts from various countries have been conducting research together on board the ISS.

The orbiting laboratory is currently jointly operated by the USA, Russia, the member states of the European Space Agency (ESA), Canada and Japan.

Germany is the most prominent ISS partner of ESA. As the largest contributing member, the Federal Republic finances approximately 40 percent of the ESA programme for operating the ISS and plays a major role in the scientific usage of the space station.

The German Space Agency at DLR coordinates the German contribution to ESA's ISS programmes related to the expansion, operation and use of the station. These include, among others:

  • The Columbus research laboratory
  • Planning and implementation of the operational and logistics programmes
  • Astronaut missions
  • The operation of the Columbus Control Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen
  • The data management system for the Russian module Zarya
  • The European Robotic Arm (ERA) on the Russian segment of the space station
  • The European Service Module (ESM) for the US crewed spacecraft MPCV (Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle)

For Germany, the space station is both the present and the future. German researchers have been involved in the scientific use of the space station since 2001. With its research on board the ISS, DLR is pursuing three primary goals, namely the exploration of nature on Earth, opening up new potential applications for research and laying out the foundations for future exploration, such as long-term missions to the Moon and Mars.

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