Photos: Space station in trouble?
The International Space Station, as seen from the space shuttle Discovery, has been in orbit since its construction began in 1998. It may never be completed and put out of service before 2010 if NASA shuttle missions experience further delays. The station is 240 feet by 146 feet and 90 feet tall.
Currently the International Space Station is inhabited by Expedition 11 Russian Commander Sergei Krikalev and American Flight Engineer John Phillips. They have been manning the space station since April 16, 2005.
Mission Specialist Soichi Noguchi from Discovery traverses along the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. Shuttle astronauts took spacewalks to install a platforms and repair instruments on the space station.
Flight Engineer John L. Phillips works in the lab while conducting an experiment on his own body. He's wearing a pair of cycling tights outfitted with sensors that measure joints, muscle activity and foot force. Scientists hope to solve the mystery of bone and muscle loss during space flight and also better understand osteoporosis on Earth.
The space station replentishes its supplies from craft like Progress 18 which was launched from Russia to deliver two tons of supplies, food, water, fuel and equipment to the Expedition 11 crew members aboard the station. Discovery brought fresh supplies when it arrived.
To prepare for a new supply vehicle, crew members packed Progress 17 with its load of trash and unneeded equipment and sent it to be deorbited and burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Discovery brought back a load of trash to Earth.
The space station serves as an orbiting observatory. Expedition 11 NASA Science Officer John Phillips captured this photo of the eye of Hurricane Emily on July 17, 2005, as the storm churned in the Caribbean Sea east of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Some of the funds for the maintenance of the space station is provided through travel adventures for private individuals. A Japanese agency will charge about $20 million a head for a weeklong tour. Greg Olsen, who is currently training and scheduled to go into orbit in October from Space Adventures, says a moon flight is intriguing to him.