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International Space Station Completes 100,000 Orbits

By Caleb Henry | May 17, 2016
      A time lapse photo from the International Space Station ISS NASA

      A time lapse photo from the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

      [Via Satellite 05-17-2016] The International Space Station (ISS) completed its 100,000th orbit on May 16, NASA announced yesterday. The orbiting research platform has travelled more than 4.2 billion kilometers (2.6 billion miles) while circling the planet — a distance almost equivalent to the space between Earth and Neptune (4.7 billion kilometers, or 2.9 billion miles), or 10 round trips from Mars to Earth.

      In addition to research onboard the station, the ISS has turned into a primary avenue for CubeSats and other small satellites to reach Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Shortly after the station reached the new milestone, astronauts deployed several types of CubeSats from the Kibo lab module’s airlock. More CubeSats are slated for deployment through Wednesday, contributing to a wide variety of research from students and scientists.

      The first component of the ISS, the Zarya cargo module, launched Nov. 20, 1998. Most recently, Bigelow Aerospace launched a commercial module known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which could pave the way for other habitats in space.