It takes a lot to keep six astronauts alive, hurtling around in space for months at a time. But the exact scale might not ever have been truly revealed as it has by this picture — on which an astronaut is dwarfed by the International Space Station in which he temporarily lives.
The image, tweeted by fellow ISS-dweller Terry Virts, shows Butch Wilmore floating in space as he took part on the third spacewalk of the week. The visits saw astronauts lay 800-feet of cable, four antennas, three laser reflectors and a robotic arm.
In total, Sunday’s mission lasted five and a half hours. It was the 187th time that astronauts have stepped out of the ship on the regular trips, which are required to keep the huge feat of engineering ticking over.
The true scale of that space station is huge. To keep the team of usually six people comfortable and healthy, the station has about the living space of a six-bedroom house. It has two bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree bay window and is powered by 2.3 million lines of computer code, according to Nasa.
The truss, the part that Wilmore was spotted working on, is 109-meters long, roughly the size of a football pitch. The solar arrays, the huge panels on the side that generate 84-kilowatts of power for those onboard, are 73-meters long. The mass of the satellite is 924,739-pounds. That’s roughly 7113 Kylie Jenners, or more than 2725 of these huge fish.
To get to that size, the station has been slowly assembled since the project began in November 1998. Rockets bring up new modules and attack them on, adding new capabilities and size to the huge satellite.
The mission is set to shut in 2024. But it’s unclear what will happen to the parts after that – Russia has said that it will take the parts and use them to assemble a new space station, which it hopes to use for its first trips to the moon.Reuse content