13 gravity-defying things about the International Space Station

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IT’S a mesmerising sight as it powers through the night sky – and you’ll have plenty of chances to see it in the coming days.

The International Space Station will pass over the Portmouth area several times and – if it’s a clear night - it’s unmissable.

Here’s 13 things you need to know about the ISS.

The ISS is the largest Space Station/laboratory ever built, orbiting the Earth at 17,500 mph at an altitude of roughly 200 miles. Here are more fascinating ISS facts:

The first ISS module was launched in 1998.

Five different space agencies representing 16 countries (including the UK) built the $100-billion International Space Station and continue to operate it today.

The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000.

The ISS was taken into space piece-by-piece and gradually built in orbit involving 115 space flights.

The ISS measures 357 feet end-to-end, with a solar array wingspan of 240 feet.

The ISS travels at 17,227 miles per hour or 5 miles-per-second, completing around 15 orbits a day, circling the planet once every 90 minutes.

A six-person expedition crew typically stays four to six months aboard the ISS.

The space station has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360-degree bay window, the liveable area roughly equivalent to one-and-a-half Boeing 747s.

The urine of both the crewmembers and lab animals is filtered back into the station’s drinking water supply.

The 75 to 90 kilowatts of power for the ISS is supplied by an acre of solar panels.

If the crew needs to evacuate the station, they can return to Earth aboard two Russian Soyuz vehicles docked to the ISS.

The ISS is expected to remain in operation until at least 2020, and potentially up to 2028.