About the International Space Station

International Space Stationis a multi-national research laboratory where astronauts from around the world are learning how to live and work in space for extended periods of time. The station is a partnership among 5 space agencies from the U.S., Canada, multiple European countries, Japan, and Russia.

In-orbit construction of the space station began in 1998 and is due to be completed within the next year. The space station's crew was recently expanded to six astronauts. The knowledge gained from the experiments they perform will be used to help prepare astronauts for future missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

International Space Station homepage
ISS Tracking Map
ISS Sighting Opportunities

From end to end, the ISS is about as long as a football field, with living space comparable to about one and a half Boeing 747 jets. It orbits 240 miles above the Earth at about 17,500 miles per hour.

Floating inside, astronaut Jeff Williams, the current commander of the ISS and CBS News globe-spinner extraordinaire, says living on the space station has given him a brand new perspective of life on Earth.

"When you view the Earth from the space station the world becomes a much smaller place as we travel around the world every 90 minutes," he said. "We often wonder what those people are doing, what they think, how they live. Is it much different than us or are there a lot of things in common?"

CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman set out to find the answers to those questions and what he found proves, once again, that everybody has a story.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.