The International Space Station is an unprecedented achievement in global human endeavors to build and utilize a research platform in space. Since 2000, the station evolved from an outpost into a highly capable microgravity laboratory. Results are compounding, new benefits are emerging, and the third decade is building on research.
Benefits 2022 Publication
The 2022 edition of the International Space Station Benefits for Humanity publication is packed with numerous benefits of the microgravity laboratory highlighting groundbreaking discoveries helping society, technologies tested for future space exploration, new scientific breakthroughs, and contributions to the growing low Earth orbit economy.
The International Space Station is pictured from inside a window aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on Nov. 8, 2021.
15 Ways the International Space Station Benefits Humanity Back on Earth
The first decade of the International Space Station was the decade of construction. The second decade moved from initial studies…
This introduction summarizes the International Space Station’s unique research opportunities and key accomplishments to date. Learn how space station benefits are derived and look at the growing number of studies and facilities building on prior results as the station moves into its third decade, including from the perspective of its international partners.
NASA astronaut and Expedition 66 Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei peers at the Earth below from inside the seven-windowed cupola, the International Space Station’s window to the world.
Seeing Our Home in a Whole New Light
From its orbit 402 kilometers (250 miles) above Earth, the International Space Station collects a variety of data and imagery that benefit humanity. More than 3.5 million photographs of Earth have contributed to research on our atmosphere and climate change, monitoring of and response to natural disasters such as flooding and volcanic eruptions, studies of light pollution, and much more.
Astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency takes pictures of the Earth below from inside the International Space Station’s “window to the world,” the seven-windowed cupola.
Microbiology in Microgravity
Scientists use the International Space Station and its many tools, including DNA sequencing and genome editing, to study microbes – how they behave in sanitized and confined environments, how space may change them in ways that could affect human health, and whether they could be used to mine metals on other planets.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins checks a sample for air bubbles prior to loading it in the biomolecule sequencer.
Advancing Human Health
Researchers from around the world use the International Space Station to address complex human health problems on Earth, studying disease formation, testing drugs and diagnostic tools, and examining the inner workings of the human body. Much of this work employs unique microgravity tools including protein crystals and tissue chips, as well as devices designed specifically for space but that also have been adapted for use on Earth.
Using ADUM protocols, NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao performs an ultrasound examination of the eye on cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov.
Space 24 | 7 | 365
As a home to humans and a lab for scientific research for more than 20 years, the International Space Station is a one-of-a-kind platform for advancing technologies such as robots, computers, health monitors, life support systems, and more for both space and ground applications.
Students participate in a live education downlink with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
New Frontiers in Physics
Microgravity enables study of the physics of the universe through a completely new lens. International Space Station scientists are discovering fundamental knowledge through research on colloids, bubbles, and fluid behavior.
This flame was one of many ignited as part of the Flame Design investigation inside the Combustion Integration Rack to investigate the amount of soot that is produced in different conditions.
Growing the Low Earth Orbit Economy
As a platform used by small businesses, entrepreneurs, and researchers to test their science and technology in space, the International Space Station has supported development of new and improved products, spawned new commercial ventures, and provided growth for existing ones.