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Graphic: Inside and Out: The International Space Station

The International Space Station is the largest structureever built in space. Its backbone-like main truss is as long as a footballfield and the station can clearly be seen from Earth by the naked eye, sometimes rivaling the planet Venus in brightness. Today, the space station is home to crews of up tosix astronauts representing five different space agencies and 15 countries thatbuilt it. Construction on the $100 billion InternationalSpace Station began in 1998 and is expected to be completed by mid-2011. SPACE.com looks at the space station from the inside out to take a close look at orbiting lab.

<a href="/8897-graphic-international-space-station.html"><img src="http://www.space.com/images/iss-international-space-station-construction-history-100812a.jpg" alt="Learn how the International Space Station (ISS) was constructed and developed to provide a permanent base for astronauts to live and work in space" width="580" border="1"/></a><br /> Source Space.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

This graphic has been corrected to reflect the proper orientation of the space station's Russian docking ports.

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Karl Tate
Space.com contributor

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.