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International Cooperation

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International Cooperation

ISS Operations and Management
Facilities around the world support the operation and management of the International Space Station Credit: NASA
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The International Space Station (ISS) Program’s greatest accomplishment is as much a human achievement as it is a technological one—how best to plan, coordinate, and monitor the varied activities of the Program’s many organizations.

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the ISS. The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

The International Space Station Program brings together international flight crews, multiple launch vehicles, globally distributed launch, operations, training, engineering, and development facilities; communications networks, and the international scientific research community.

Elements launched from different countries and continents are not mated together until they reach orbit, and some elements that have been launched later in the assembly sequence were not yet built when the first elements were placed in orbit.

Operating the space station is even more complicated than other space flight endeavors because it is an international program. Each partner has the primary responsibility to manage and run the hardware it provides.

Construction, assembly and operation of the International Space Station requires the support of facilities on the Earth managed by all of the international partner agencies and countries involved in the program.

These include construction facilities, launch support and processing facilities, mission operations support facilities, research and technology development facilities and communications facilities.

Space Agencies

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA headquarters, in Washington, D.C., exercises management over the NASA field Centers, establishes management policies, and analyzes all phases of the space station program.
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Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency
Roscosmos oversees all Russian human space flight activities. Moscow Mission Control is the primary Russian facility for the control of human space flight. It is located in Korolev, outside of Moscow.
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Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
The MSS Operations Complex in Longueuil, Quebec, provides the resources, equipment, and expertise needed for the engineering and monitoring of the Mobile Servicing System as well as for crew training.
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European Space Agency (ESA)
The European Space Research and Technology Centre, the largest site and the technical heart of the ESA, is in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. Most ESA projects are developed here by more than 2,000 specialists.
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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
In addition to the JAXA headquarters in Tokyo and other field centers throughout the country, Tsukuba Space Center and Tanegashima launch Facility are JAXA’s primary ISS facilities.
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› Read more about international partners and participants

Related Images

Station Interactive

First Ten Years, Next Ten Years First Ten Years, Next Ten Years
Did you know that people have been living and working in space around the clock, every single day, for more than ten years? During the past decade, 15 nations have come together, setting aside boundaries and differences, to design, assemble, occupy, and conduct research inside and outside of the largest and longest inhabited object to ever orbit the Earth - the International Space Station.

Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Todd Russell