A ride aboard the International Space Station comes with its risks, but the payoff is grand. Astronauts are treated to breathtaking views of the entire world.
The space station circles the planet once every 90 minutes, giving astronauts 16 glimpses of the planet within a 24-hour period.
It travels approximately 249 miles above the surface of the Earth, rewarding astronauts with a sky-high view of rivers and mountain ranges and Mother Nature's other greatest attractions to sprawling metropoles and other feats of humankind.
First launched into orbit in 1998, the International Space Station is the ninth space station to house humans in low-Earth orbit. Five space agencies representing nations in North America, Europe and Asia collaborate to fund and staff the ISS, which carries out research pertaining to everything from human health to technological building materials used not just in space but also for life here on Earth.
Over the last nearly two decades, there have been 52 crewed expeditions to the International Space Station, with most crew members hailing from the United States and Russia.
If you'd like to try and spot the International Space Station as it passes over your neighborhood, an interactive tool helps you track the location of the massive space laboratory as it whirs overhead. null
SCIENCE SATURDAY: What astronauts see from the International Space Station