Take a Virtual Tour of the ISS with Tim Peake
Credit: NASA

Take a Virtual Tour of the ISS with Tim Peake

20/11/2018Written by Tamela Maciel

Enter our virtual planetarium and enjoy a tour of the International Space Station.

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Tracy Caldwell at the ISS Cupola. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station (ISS) is a remarkable feat of human ingenuity and peaceful international collaboration that has spanned more than 20 years in space.

Construction first began with the launch of the Zarya (‘Sunrise’) Module on 20 November 1998. More than 40 assembly missions later, the ISS is now the size of a football pitch and has hosted more than 230 astronauts from 18 different countries. Amazingly, it’s been continuously occupied since 2000.

Today the ISS continues to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes (17,000 miles per hour!), and hosts six astronauts at a time for science and health studies in microgravity.

360 degree virtual ISS tour

Here in the UK, astronaut Tim Peake is probably the most recognisable visitor to the International Space Station. He spent six months in space between December 2015 and June 2018, and while he was in space, he worked with the National Space Centre and our NSC Creative team to make this very special tour of the ISS.

In this 360video you can enter our virtual Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium and find out where astronauts sleep, eat, exercise, and do science, guided by Tim Peake himself.

Science Lab in Free-Fall

Science Lab in Free-Fall
Credit: NASA

Living on the ISS is a remarkable way to spend a few months in space, but the main point of the ISS is science.

The ISS is basically a free-falling science lab in orbit around the Earth. A science lab without gravity is a fantastic place to test everything from the creation of stronger, lighter new materials to the strange way in which fluids behave in microgravity.

But the main research on the ISS focuses on the astronauts themselves, and how the human body adapts (or doesn’t) to long periods in space. This research is vital if we’re ever going to send humans on longer mission to the Moon or Mars, but more importantly, these studies are helping us treat diseases here on Earth and counter the effects of ageing.

To find out more about three key space experiments that could greatly improve life here on Earth, check out our Science on the ISS blog.

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Find out more: Enter a full-scale replica of the ISS Columbus Module at the National Space Centre.

About the author: Dr Tamela Maciel is the Space Communications Manager at the National Space Centre.