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Admire Earth’s beauty, fragility from space


IT WAS an enthralling experience for 38-year-old Russian Sergey Vladimirovich Kud-Sverchkov, a cosmonaut space station flight engineer, to stay in space for six months. At a lightning speed of 28,000 kilometres per hour, the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 64 spaceflight only took nine minutes to arrive in space.
The spaceflight or skyrocket, however, lasted a record three hours to dock, ushering Kud-Sverchkov and other five crew members into a whole different world. Kud-Sverchkov and the astronauts’ skyrocket was launched in October 2020, propelled by a massive 300 tonnes of fuel into space and only returned after 185 days on April 17 this year. The ISS is a multi-nation and largest science construction project, a major single structure humans ever put into space. Its main construction, with an annual budget of around US$3 billion, commenced in 1998 and was completed in 2011, although the station continually evolves to include new missions and experiments.
It has been continuously occupied since November 2, 2000, and as of April 2021, 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the ISS. Top participating countries include the USA (153 people) and Russia (50 people).
The ISS is not owned by one single nation and is a “co-operative programme” between Europe, the United States of America (USA), Russia, Canada and Japan, according to the European Space Agency (ESA). Astronaut time and research time on the space station is allocated to space agencies according to how much money or resources (such as modules or robotics) that they contribute. The ISS includes contributions from 15 nations. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the USA, Roscosmos of Russia and the European Space Agency are the major partners of the space station that contribute most of the funding. Other partners include the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Kud-Sverchkov recently visited Zambia under the auspices of the Russian Embassy in Lusaka to CLICK TO READ MORE