Does the International Space Station have Internet access?

– Xochielt Sanchez

Answer by Clayton C. Anderson:

Mr. Garrett's technical answer is below and supplements mine.

Since about 2010, at the early part of that year, the International Space Station (ISS) gained internet access.  When I visited ISS as a member of the STS-131 Discovery crew, I tried to send some Tweets to Earth using that internet system.  I flew into JAXA Astronaut Soichi Noguchi's sleep station and used his laptop computer.  It was extremely slow and painful… so much so that I gave up after 15 minutes and resorted to the system I had been using on the Shuttle.  That meant I typed my 140 character Tweet, emailed it to the ground, and my "contact" there posted the Tweet to my twitter account (@Astro_Clay).  Not efficient, but effective and probably just as fast as using the ISS internet.

Today, due to technology improvements in bandwidth and such, the internet system on board is much faster.  For example, it is my understanding that the astronauts on board that participate in Twitter are able to shoot a photo and tweet it moments later.  Ah… technology!  Would've been much easier to buy my wife flowers on our anniversary!

Keep lookin' up!

Does the International Space Station have Internet access?


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