International Space Station

ISS

How big is the ISS?

(Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

- NASA says it's as big as a football field, but in Canada we speak hockey!

To learn more

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.

Wonder how the International Space Station was built?

Since the launch of Zarya, the first module of the International Space Station (ISS), on November 20, 1998, five space agencies have worked together daily to build and operate the orbiting science lab—one of the most complex scientific and technological endeavours ever undertaken. This video features Canada’s contribution to the ISS, and why it is so important to Canadians.