How Long Does It Take To Get To The ISS (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6 Hours to 3 Days

International Space Station or ISS is a modular space station in the lower orbit of Earth. ISS is an artificial habitat satellite. ISS is a collaborative effort from different countries like NASA of the USA, Roscosmos of Russia, JAXA of Japan, ESA of Europe, and Csa of Canada. The intergovernmental treaties and agreements of these countries have set a background for ISS.

The International Space Station serves as a laboratory where experiments related to microgravity, space environment, astrobiology, physics, metrology, astronomy etc. are followed. The main function of ISS is to test the spacecraft systems and equipment for any possible mission to Moon and Mars. ISS was formed on 23 November 1998. ISS is crewed with 7 people and has a mass of 440,725 kg and a length of 73 m.

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How Long Does It Take To Get To The ISS?

OrganizationDuration to reach ISS
Crew Dragon19 Hours
Soyuz Spacecraft6 Hours

The time taken to get to ISS depends on a number of factors like how long the distance is, how many hurdles get on the way of the spacecraft and a combination of many other factors. These factors are majorly responsible for the different timings taken to reach the space. Soyuz Spacecraft can take up to 6 hours to reach ISS and followed by other times.

The main aim of the ISS programme was to create a permanently manned Earth-orbiting station is the outer space. The ISS is the ninth station that has been inhabited by crews. It is the largest artificial object in space and the largest satellite in the low Earth orbit. The time taken by ISS to circle the Earth completely is roughly 93 minutes. ISS is able to complete 15.5 orbits per day.

The ISS has a station divided into two major sections called the Russian Orbital Segment and the United States Orbital Segment. These two sections are primarily operated by Russia, USA and other countries. ISS also consists of pressurized habitat modules, structural trusses, photovoltaic solar arrays, thermal radiators, docking ports, experiment bays and robotic arms. The major rockets have been launched by USA and Russia in the ISS.

The ISS was built with a purpose to be a laboratory, observatory, factory with providing transportation, maintenance and low Earth orbit for possible missions on Mars, Moons and asteroids. But soon it was discovered that all the uses for which it was built were not possible and hence, the idea was dropped soon. Some additional roles like commercial, diplomatic and educational purposes were extracted from ISS.

Why Does It Take This Long To Get To The ISS?

The time taken to reach ISS depends on how long the duration and the speed on the spaceship. Other factors like any hurdles on the path can change the duration to reach ISS. A Soyuz capsule made a 3-hour flight to the ISS, which was a record-breaking time. The components of ISS was manufactured in different countries.

The assembly of ISS began in November 1988 when the Russian modules launched and docked the spaceship remotely. The first module of the ISS was Zarya in November 1998. The permanent crews on the expedition are given special numbers. The travel private flights are also available at a particular cost. The travel passengers paying by themselves are called spaceflight participants.

The first self-funded woman to fly ISS was Anousheh Ansari, she was not just a tourist but a great asset on board. Richard Garriott placed a geocache in 2008, during his flight to the ISS. The current ISS occupants are Megan McArthur, Marke Vande Hei, Kimbrough, Hopkins, Walker and Glover and many more.


The time taken to travel to ISS is 6 hours to 3 days. The time can vary with a number of environmental factors. The minimum duration in which a space craft travelled this distance was 3 hours and was travelled by the Soyuz Spacecraft. Since then many of the countries have been trying to travel the distance. The main countries on mission of ISS include Russia, Canada, USA and more. The main objective of ISS was to travel to the moon and build a habitat beside the Earth.



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