The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility currently being assembled in space. The project started in 1998. The ISS is in a low Earth orbit and can be seen from Earth with the naked eye: it has an altitude of 350-460 km (189-248 statute miles) above the surface of the Earth, and travels at an average speed of 27,700 km (17,210 statute miles) per hour, completing 15.77 orbits per day. The whole project is a joint effort. NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency all took part in the construction and assembling of the ISSS. The idea originated during the early 1980s, when NASA’s International Space Station was planned to be a counterpart of Salyut and MIR, but that never happened. The trigger to rekindle the project on an international level happened when the space race and the Cold War came to an end.
The ISS was launched into orbit on November the 20th 1998; it then started its first 92-minute orbit around the earth. On November the second two years later the first permanent crew of astronauts arrived on the ISS. Since November the second 2000 there has always been a minimal of two astronauts on board. Until now the only astronauts residing on the space station have either been American or Russian.
The ISS is a construction in progress. Every time there is a new section attached to the ISS. And parts come from all over the world. As of 2008 the ISS larger than any other previous space station.
There have been space tourists who visited the shuttle. The first person to visit space as a tourist was Dennis Tito. After that, Yuri Malecnchenko and Ekaterina Dmitriev married on the International Space Station.