Today Marks 20 Years of Continuous Human Presence on the International Space Station

8 Canadians have been on the ISS

The first component that would make up the International Space Station (ISS) was launched in 1998 and, on November 2, 2000, the first long-term residents arrived. Happy 20th anniversary, ISS!

Some Facts About the ISS

  • The ISS is a collaboration of 5 countries:  NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan),  ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
  • The ISS was assembled with help of the Canadarm2, which is now a part of the space station.
  • The ISS cost $150 billion US and that includes a $2 billion from Canada.
  • The space station flies at approximately 18,000 mph (28, 968 km/h)
  • You can see the ISS from earth. It orbits Earth about every 90 minutes (about 16 times a day). You can check NASA’s website (HERE) to find out when you’ll be able to see the ISS. At night, it looks like a little light moving swiftly through the sky.
  • 8 Canadians have been on the ISS including our current Governor General, Julie Payette, and the current federal Minister of Transportation, Marc Garneau, the first Canadian to fly in space. The others include: Chris Hadfield, Guy Laliberté (Space Flight Participant), Steve MacLean, David Saint-Jacques, Robert ThirskDafydd Williams
  • 242 different people have visited the ISS as of June 2020.
  • The main purpose of the ISS is research. You can read more about the benefits of the ISS research HERE. One example is a study on the ISS which “will examine a drug compound and a drug delivery system aimed at preventing, slowing or even reversing muscular breakdown, both in space and on Earth.”
  • Yes, they recycle crew members’ urine to make drinkable water!  “The Environmental Control and Life Support System, or ECLSS, built for the station is serving as the basis for a similar system that may one day enable astronauts to drink water on the surface of Mars. […] ‘If this amount of water had been resupplied from Earth, it would have cost more than $225 million to launch and deliver it to the station'”[1]


Image: The ISS in May of 2010/ NASA