Have you ever wanted to visit the International Space Station (ISS)? For most, that is but a mere dream afforded to only a few astronauts.
Luckily, a new feature on Skecthfab is offering a virtual tour of the ISS that comes as close to the real thing as we will ever get. It is a beautiful photogrammetric 3D reconstruction, and it begins at Kibo, the Japanese node of the orbital station.
"The laboratory is renowned for its volume and extra features such as its external robotic arm, an airlock to send experiments outside, and an external facility to expose experiments to space. Nanosats can be launched from Kibo through the airlock, making the Station a base for deploying satellites as well as a weightless research center for biology, physics, and medicine," reads the system's description of Kibo.
Next up is Columbus, the European module.
"Launched on 7 February 2008 on Space Shuttle Atlantis. The laboratory is ESA’s largest single contribution to the Station, and Europe’s first permanent research facility in space. The state-of-the-art facility offers 75 cubic meters of workspace and contains a suite of research equipment. External platforms support experiments and applications in space science, Earth observation, and technology," reads Raiz/Sketchfab's description.
The Harmony node was developed in 2007 to link the Columbus, Kibo, and Destiny laboratories.
Needless to say, astronauts need sleep, and this is where their bedrooms are.
NASA's laboratory is called Destiny and it is quite a sight to see.
"Launched on 7 February 2001 on Space Shuttle Atlantis, the American module is the heart of the non-Russian part of the Station according to ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (who took the pictures to create this view). The module allows experiments to be performed in many disciplines, from biology to physics, including a rack for burning liquids in weightlessness and the European Microgravity Science Glovebox," reads Raiz/Sketchfab's description.
Next up is the Unity module. It might seem small but it plays an important role.
"Launched on 4 December 1998 inside Space Shuttle Endeavour, it was joined to the Russian Zarya module two days later, forming the basis of the International Space Station. Also known as Node-1, the cylindrical module has six docking ports to connect visiting spacecraft and other modules," reads its description.
In this section, you can see the Quest Joint Airlock, the primary airlock for the International Space Station.
"Quest was designed to host spacewalks with both Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuits and Orlan space suits. The airlock was launched on STS-104 on July 14, 2001. Before Quest was attached, Russian spacewalks using Orlan suits could only be done from the Zvezda service module, and American spacewalks using EMUs were only possible when a Space Shuttle was docked. The arrival of the Pirs docking compartment on September 16, 2001, provided another airlock from which Orlan spacewalks can be conducted," reads its description.
The Tranquility node provides life-support for the International Space Station.
"Part of Tranquility is ESA’s Cupola observation module, a seven-window dome-shaped structure from where the Space Station’s robotic arm, Canadarm 2, is operated as it offers a panoramic view of space and Earth. Launched on Space Shuttle flight STS-130 in February 2010, Node-3 was attached to the port side of Node-1 Unity," reads ist description.
Next up are the showers and toilets. There are but two toilets on the station located in the Zvezda and Tranquility modules.
The Cupola is the ESA-built observatory module of the ISS.
"Its name derives from the Italian word cupola, which means “dome”. Its seven windows are used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of Earth. It was launched aboard Space Shuttle mission STS-130 on 8 February 2010 and attached to the Tranquility (Node 3) module. With the Cupola attached, ISS assembly reached 85% completion. The Cupola’s central window has a diameter of 80 cm," reads its description.