Take Off into Space Trivia



9 Questions

What is the purpose of the International Space Station?

Which countries are involved in the International Space Station programme?

Which module of the ISS is the largest single contribution made by the European Space Agency?

What is the purpose of the Cupola module on the ISS?

What is the purpose of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module on the ISS?

What is the purpose of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) on the ISS?

What is the primary remote manipulator system on the ISS called?

What is the primary function of the Russian Orbital Segment on the ISS?

What is the purpose of the Integrated Truss Structure on the ISS?


The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest modular space station in low Earth orbit, involving five space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. It serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which scientific research is conducted in astrobiology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, and other fields. The ISS programme evolved from the Space Station Freedom, a 1984 American proposal to construct a permanently crewed Earth-orbiting station, and the contemporaneous Soviet/Russian Mir-2 proposal from 1976 with similar aims. The ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations and the American Skylab. The station is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which includes ten modules. The ISS has been continuously occupied for 22 years and 183 days, the longest continuous human presence in low Earth orbit. The station provides a platform for scientific research, medical research, and remote sensing of the Earth, astronomy, and deep space research. The ISS crew also provides opportunities for students on Earth by running student-developed experiments, making educational demonstrations, and allowing for student participation in classroom versions of ISS experiments, and directly engaging students using radio and email. The ISS crew also engages in cultural activities, and the station provides opportunities to test spacecraft systems required for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars.International Space Station: Construction, Manufacturing, and Pressurized Modules

  • Documentary filmmaker Christopher Riley and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli filmed the same view that Yuri Gagarin saw on his orbital space flight, which was cut together with the original Vostok 1 mission audio recordings sourced from the Russian State Archive.

  • Commander Chris Hadfield shot a music video of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" on board the station, which was released on YouTube in 2013.

  • Paolo Nespoli made two recordings of his spoken voice (one in English and the other in his native Italian), for use on Wikipedia articles, during Expedition 52/53 in 2017.

  • A virtual reality exhibit called The Infinite featuring life aboard the ISS was announced in November 2021.

  • The manufacturing of ISS components was done in various countries around the world, with the US components being fabricated at the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Michoud Assembly Facility.

  • The Russian modules, including Zarya and Zvezda, were manufactured at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in Moscow.

  • The European Space Agency (ESA) Columbus module was manufactured at the EADS Astrium Space Transportation facilities in Bremen, Germany, along with many other contractors throughout Europe.

  • The Japanese Experiment Module Kibō, was fabricated in various technology manufacturing facilities in Japan, at the NASDA (now JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science.

  • The assembly of the ISS began in November 1998, with the first module, Zarya, being launched on an autonomous Russian Proton rocket.

  • The station continued to expand with the addition of modules delivered by the Space Shuttle, which required installation by ISS and Shuttle crewmembers using the Canadarm2 (SSRMS) and extra-vehicular activities (EVAs).

  • The ISS is a modular space station with pressurized modules, including Zarya, Unity, Zvezda, Destiny, and Quest.

  • Zarya provided electrical power, storage, propulsion, and guidance to the ISS during the initial stage of assembly, while Zvezda provides all of the station's life support systems and living quarters for two crew members. International Space Station (ISS) Modules and Components

  • The Joint Airlock was launched in July 2001 and is used for extra-vehicular activities (EVAs) and storing EVA gear.

  • Poisk is a Russian airlock module used for storing and refurbishing Russian Orlan suits and providing contingency entry for crew using American suits.

  • Harmony is a utility hub of the ISS that connects the laboratory modules of the US, Europe, and Japan, and provides electrical power and electronic data.

  • Tranquility is a module containing environmental control systems, life support systems, a toilet, exercise equipment, and an observation cupola.

  • Columbus is a science laboratory, the largest single contribution to the ISS made by the European Space Agency, designed for ten years of operation.

  • Kibo is a Japanese science module for the ISS, nicknamed "Hope," and is the largest single ISS module.

  • The Cupola is an ESA-built observatory module of the ISS with seven windows used for experiments, dockings, and observations of Earth.

  • Rassvet is primarily used for cargo storage and as a docking port for visiting spacecraft, and was flown to the ISS aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission.

  • The Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module is primarily used for storage of spares, supplies, and waste on the ISS, and is also the personal hygiene area for the astronauts who live in the US Orbital Segment.

  • The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module is an experimental expandable space station module developed by Bigelow Aerospace, under contract to NASA.

  • The International Docking Adapter is a spacecraft docking system adapter developed to convert APAS-95 to the NASA Docking System, with two currently installed aboard the station.

  • The NanoRacks Bishop Airlock Module is a commercially funded airlock module launched to the ISS on SpaceX CRS-21 on 6 December 2020.

  • Nauka is a Roscosmos-funded component of the ISS that was launched on 21 July 2021, designed to replace Pirs and provide additional storage, propulsion, and crew quarters.

  • Prichal is a 4-tonne ball-shaped module that will provide the Russian segment additional docking ports to receive Soyuz MS and Progress MS spacecraft.

  • The ISS has a large number of external components that do not require pressurisation, with the largest being the Integrated Truss Structure that provides the ISS with structural stability.International Space Station Components and Systems

  • The Integrated Truss Structure (ITS) is a structure 108.5 meters long to which the station's main solar arrays and thermal radiators are mounted.

  • External components of the station include six robotic arms, three External Stowage Platforms (ESPs), and four ExPRESS Logistics Carriers (ELCs) which store spare Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs).

  • Smaller exposure facilities mounted directly to laboratory modules include the Kibō Exposed Facility and a facility on the European Columbus laboratory.

  • The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is the largest scientific payload externally mounted to the ISS and measures cosmic rays to look for evidence of dark matter and antimatter.

  • The Bartolomeo External Payload Hosting Platform, manufactured by Airbus, was launched in 2020 and provides an additional 12 external payload slots.

  • The Mobile Servicing System (MSS) is the station's primary remote manipulator system composed of three main components.

  • The Russian Orbital Segment's life support systems are contained in the Zvezda service module and the US Orbital Segment has redundant supplies of oxygen.

  • Power is provided by double-sided solar arrays and the USOS solar arrays are arranged as four wing pairs.

  • The station originally used rechargeable nickel-hydrogen batteries and starting in 2016, the batteries were replaced by lithium-ion batteries.

  • A passive thermal control system (PTCS) is made of external surface materials, insulation such as MLI, and heat pipes.

  • The Axiom segment, expected to greatly increase the capabilities and value of the space station, is a commercial module that will attach to the forward port of the space station's Harmony (Node 2) module.

  • Cancelled modules planned for the station were the US Centrifuge Accommodations Module, the US Habitation Module, two Russian Research Modules, and the Russian Science Power Platform.


How well do you know the International Space Station? Test your knowledge of the largest modular space station in low Earth orbit and its components, systems, and modules with this quiz. From the Russian Orbital Segment to the United States Orbital Segment, explore the station's history, construction, and scientific research. Challenge yourself with questions on the station's modules, robotic arms, external components, and life support systems. Are you ready to blast off into space trivia? Take the International Space Station quiz now!

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