This report discusses the International Space Station (ISS) program, which began in 1993, with Russia joining the United States, Europe, Japan, and Canada. Crews have occupied ISS on a 4-6 month rotating basis since November 2000.
This report looks into Congress' continued debate regarding NASA's International Space Station (ISS) program to build a permanently-occupied space station in Earth orbit where astronauts live and conduct research. NASA expects that research performed in the near-zero gravity environment of the space station will result in new discoveries in life sciences, biomedicine, and materials sciences. Current congressional space station debate focuses on the impact of the space shuttle Columbia tragedy on the ISS program; the possibility that portions of the space station may not be built for cost reasons; and whether Russia can fulfill its commitments to ISS.