How Long Would It Take to Drive to the International Space Station?

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The International Space Station is about 200 miles above Earth, which means if you drove straight into the air going 65 miles per hour, it would take you just over three hours. There is one small problem, though: the ISS travels around the earth at 17,500 miles per hour.

For astronauts launching from Earth, it takes just eight minutes to reach space, but getting to the International Space Station requires a calculated rendezvous because of ISS’s speed. Chasing down the space station in orbit can take up to three days. During that time, a ship’s crew will circle the globe close to 30 times.

In 2013, Russian astronauts reached the ISS in just six hours, which stands as the world record. The crew managed to dock within just four orbits (instead of between 25 and 30).They launched from Kazakhstan, timing their ascent with when ISS passed overhead. Once in space, it took them only few hours to make up their 1,000-mile gap.

Since November of 2000, the International Space Station has operated as a microgravity laboratory, housing a rotating team of six scientists from across the globe. Over 200 different people from 15 countries have been stationed there. While there, residents will see between 15 and 16 sunrises and sunsets per day.