International Space Station


Did you know?

Fact number 1

You can watch live, high-definition video of the Earth from the ISS. Tune in and see our planet from space.

Credit: NASA/Canadian Space Agency

Fact number 2

There are live cameras that show the crew working inside the ISS, and follow Canadarm2 and Dextre during robotics operations. See what's happening on board the Station right now.

Credit: NASA/Canadian Space Agency

Fact number 3

The ISS passes over Canada frequently. It takes about 15 minutes for it to cross the country from west to east. Find out where the Station is now.

Planet Earth from space

Credit: NASA

Fact number 4

The ISS is the second brightest object in the night sky after the Moon. It crosses the night sky like a bright star, and could easily be mistaken for an airplane, but it does not have blinking lights. Here's how you can see the Station for yourself.

The ISS in the night sky

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Fact number 5

There are four cameras on Canadarm2, five on board Dextre (including one inside each of the robot's hands), and two on the mobile base. More information on Where are the cameras on Canadarm2, Dextre and the mobile base?

Illustration of where the cameras are on Canadarm2

Credit: Canadian Space Agency

Along with the United States, Russia, Europe and Japan, Canada is a partner in the International Space Station (ISS), an orbiting research laboratory. Since the first module of the Station was launched in 1998, the Station has circled the globe 16 times per day at 28,000 km/h at an altitude of about 370 km, covering a distance equivalent to the Moon and back daily. The Station is about as long as a Canadian football field, and has as much living space as a five-bedroom house.

Canada's contribution to the ISS is the Mobile Servicing System (MSS)—a sophisticated robotics suite that assembled the Station in space, module by module. Developed for the Canadian Space Agency by MDA of Brampton, Ontario, the MSS is comprised of:

  • Canadarm2, a 17-metre long robotic arm
  • Dextre, the Station's two-armed robotic "handyman" and
  • The Mobile Base is a moveable work platform and storage facility.

Canada's investment gives Canadian scientists access to the ISS to conduct research for the benefit of Canadians.

Quick facts on the International Space Station. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency)