The International Space Station (ISS-ll, simply known as the ISS) was a space station (also known as a habitable artificial satellite) formally in Earth's low orbit. It was a modular structure originally launched in 1998. The ISS was the ninth space station to be inhabited by a crews. It could often be seen from Earth with the naked eye. ISS components were launched by American Space Shuttles as well as Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets. The ESA was invited to participate in Space Station Freedom in 1984. The United States and Russia merged Mir-2 and Freedom together in 1993, shortly after the USSR dissolved. The original Space Station was decommissioned July 2nd 2028, after 30 years of activity. The second incarnation of the ISS's first component was launched in 2031. During it's commission the ISS was the largest artificial body in Earth's orbit that ever existed. The ISS consisted of pressurized modules, solar arrays and other components, external trusses. The launching of the ISS-ll was a joint operation between all the world's nations, in an effort to study, observe, transportation, maintenance, and act as the central hub for Earth's expansion in the Solar System. On December 20th 2043, at approximately 6:42 pm, the ISS-ll crashed from orbit into the South Pacific ocean; due to a system wide malfunction.
Micro-gravity and space environmental research were performed on the ISS, (in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields) prior to it's decommission. The station was also suited for the testing of various space equipment, such as spacecraft systems and exploration suits, potentially for missions to the Moon and Mars. Once the ISS-ll succeeded it's predecessor there were several intentions of colonization missions being launched from the space station.
Since the arrival of Expedition 1 on 2 November 2000, the ISS had been continuously occupied for 30 years (a total of 10,943 days), the longest continuous human presence in space. (In 2010, the station surpassed the previous record of almost 10 years (or 3,634 days) held by Mir.) The station is serviced by a variety of visiting spacecraft: Soyuz, Progress, the Automated Transfer Vehicle, the H-II Transfer Vehicle, Dragon, and Cygnus. It has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations. ISS-ll had been continuously occupied for 12 years (a total of 4,377 days) before it's destruction. It was estimated that the ISS-ll would have been able to remain active in space for another forty eight years if it wasn't for the system malfunction.
After the U.S. Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, Soyuz rockets became the only provider of transport for astronauts at the International Space Station, while Dragon became the only provider of bulk cargo-return-to-Earth services (downmass capability of Soyuz capsules is very limited). This trend continued with the ISS-ll. After six years in orbit the ISS-ll was the only habitable space station in Earth's orbit.
The ISS program was a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements. The launching of the second ISS-ll was very controvercial and commercialized due to the continued warring between the European nations. Due to the breakdown of the treaties between the contributing nations it was contemplated whether or not the space station operation would be continued or abandoned. Several controversial conspiracy theories were generated around the abrupt crashing of the ISS-ll. Many speculated that this contributed to the warring between the United States and North Korea at the time.