The space station is also a science lab. Many countries worked together to build it. They also work together to use it.
The space station is made of many pieces. The pieces were put together in space by astronauts. The space station's orbit is about 220 miles above Earth. NASA uses the station to learn about living and working in space. These lessons will help NASA explore space.
The space station has many parts. The parts are called modules. The first modules had parts needed to make the space station work. Astronauts also lived in those modules. Modules called “nodes” connect parts of the station to each other. Labs on the space station let astronauts do research.
On the sides of the space station are solar arrays. These arrays collect energy from the sun. They turn sunlight into electricity. Robot arms are attached outside. The robot arms helped to build the space station. They also can move astronauts around outside and control science experiments.
Airlocks on the space station are like doors. Astronauts use them to go outside on spacewalks.
Astronauts work in spacesuits to help build the space station.
Docking ports are like doors, too. The ports allow visiting spacecraft to connect to the space station. New crews and visitors enter the station through the docking ports. Astronauts fly to the space station on the Russian Soyuz. The crew members use the ports to move supplies onto the station.
Like all other spacecraft, it has heavy-duty radiation shielding and is built mainly from aluminum. It has food, waste, oxygen scrubbers, among the above things.