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The International Space Station, or ISS, is a low-earth orbiting laboratory jointly operated by five international space agencies including those of the United States (NASA) and Russia. More than a decade of planning and construction was required before the station became long-term habitable, but, since 2000, it has been continuously populated by an always-changing crew of international astronauts using the station for research purposes.

Visible with the naked eye from Earth’s surface, the space station has become a symbol of international unity, of human ingenuity and discovery, and the future of space travel.