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A paper model of a space station.Get ready to build your own paper model of the International Space Station (ISS).

You will need

What to do

Follow the instructions you have downloaded and you will have your very own model of the International Space Station! You can also play the video below to see the steps involved.

What’s happening?

The International Space Station is the largest and most complicated spacecraft ever built. It is being constructed by a collaboration of one hundred thousand people, hundreds of companies, and sixteen nations spread over four continents.

The space station is in a low Earth orbit and can be seen from Earth with the unaided eye. It orbits at an altitude of about 350 kilometres above the Earth and travels at an average speed of 27 700 kilometres per hour, orbiting the Earth 16 times a day!

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47 responses

  1. Marry Avatar
    Marry

    But what if u cant download the paper thing

    1. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
      Alfonso X Moreno

      The ISS link is above where it says “You will need” and then click International Space Station paper model.

  2. Rena Huntington Avatar
    Rena Huntington

    Did you just use regular paper, or cardstock?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Hi Rena,
      I’m not sure what we used – this activity is originally from 2009. However, given the shininess in the video, it might have been photo paper. If using card, I’d make it quite thin – you need to make some pretty tight rolls to make the cylindrical modules.

      Sorry I couldn’t help more,
      David

    2. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
      Alfonso X Moreno

      Cardstock is preferred. You can use 165 gm (90 lb of weight) cardstock. The model on the video is the actual printout that was included in the CSIRO magazine as a pullout template. You can use glossy cardstock, too.

      1. Rena Huntington Avatar
        Rena Huntington

        Thank you, Alfonso! This is going to be a fun entry event for my PBLU on Astronomy! -Rena

        1. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
          Alfonso X Moreno

          You’re welcome, Rena. Have fun!

  3. Phoebe Avatar
    Phoebe

    Hey!
    I was wondering is i can make it with regular paper?

    1. Phoebe Avatar
      Phoebe

      I was wondering *IF* I can make it with regular paper?

      1. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
        Alfonso X Moreno

        Hi,
        You can use regular paper but card stock is preferred. With regular paper the model will be to weak, too flimsy.

        1. nightshade Avatar
          nightshade

          would it still work tho?

          1. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
            Alfonso X Moreno

            Yes.

    2. David Avatar
      David

      Hi Phoebe,
      Yup, you can use regular paper if you want. You will have to be a bit more careful though!

  4. kayla Avatar
    kayla

    How big is the model?

    1. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
      Alfonso X Moreno

      It’s 11.5 in by 8 in (inches)

  5. nightshade Avatar
    nightshade

    i like it

  6. Nandan Avatar
    Nandan

    Can you use Elmers glue?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Hi Nandan,
      Elmers glue (or any other PVA based glue) will definitely hold, but it might take a while to dry. Just be careful and you’ll be okay.

      Good luck!

    2. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
      Alfonso X Moreno

      Yes, Elmer’s glue can be used.

  7. T L Avatar
    T L

    My husband isn’t super keen on Christmas and is a very science/astronomy based kinda guy… to get him feeling in the Christmas spirit I’m going to print this out tomorrow eve and make it with him to put on top of our Christmas tree. Compromise at its best 😉

  8. Patrick Avatar
    Patrick

    The video does not show where and how to glue the last component, the Airlock “O”, to the model. It does not show which way to orient the tabs or whether to bend them.

    1. David Avatar
      David

      The sticking out lumps are part of the airlock and not tabs for gluing:
      https://www.nasa.gov/images/content/554263main_s134e009307_hires.jpg
      The airlock goes on the Unity module – you can find the right spot by matching the symbols.
      This might help with orientation:
      https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/iss_assembly_7a.html

      1. Alfonso X Moreno Avatar
        Alfonso X Moreno

        Patrick,
        I can send you a photo of the model showing the area in detail. Contact me at
        axmpssm@gmail.com so I can send you the photo.

        1. Caroline Avatar
          Caroline

          Hi Alphonso. Can you send me a photo of the model as well. Send it to piquita@gmail.com.

  9. Babe correno Avatar
    Babe correno

    This is not helping me at all I cant even print it out properly can u help?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Hi there,
      Do you live somewhere in the Americas? these print outs are designed for A4 sized paper, which is slightly taller and thinner than the letter sized paper used in the US, Canada and Mexico.
      You could try printing the images slightly smaller to fit on the page, or go to a print shop and ask them for help.

      Hope this helps,
      David

  10. Will Turner Avatar
    Will Turner

    What is the scale of this model?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Hi Will,
      I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation… The truss that holds the solar panels and radiators is a bit over 300 mm long in the model. In real life, it’s a hair over 100 metres long. So I’d guess the scale is about 300:1, give or take.

      Cheers,
      David

      1. Will Turner Avatar
        Will Turner

        Wow, thanks for the speedy reply David! I was hoping to use this for a science project at school, thanks.

  11. georgie Avatar
    georgie

    oof just print it at office works guys 😛

  12. georgie Avatar
    georgie

    😛

    😛
    😀
    🙂

  13. georgie Avatar
    georgie

    guys if you do what i said you will be having an ez go at it ;-; ._. .-.

  14. Siti Fatimah Avatar
    Siti Fatimah

    tq … very useful =)

  15. Naomi Avatar
    Naomi

    What is the time frame that it takes to build this?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Hi Naomi,
      It’s not super quick, but not super long. Maybe an hour or two? You need to make quite a few little bits.

      You can watch the video to get an idea of how many steps are involved.

  16. SciFiKid Avatar
    SciFiKid

    can you also use tape to stick it down?

    1. David Avatar
      David

      You can!

      Before you start, test your paper and tape on a bit of the printout that you don’t need. It’s important that the tape sticks firmly and doesn’t take the ink off the top of your paper!

  17. James Avatar
    James

    This is a great project, but why is the background that is essentially trash such a dark color? This is a huge waste of ink when printing.

    All flash, no practicality…

  18. a Avatar
    a

    How to make a paper space shuttle.

    1. David Avatar
      David

      Hi a,
      The designer of this model has a website with several other spaceship models. I’m pretty sure there’s a space shuttle there.

      http://www.axmpaperspacescalemodels.com/

  19. Eni Avatar
    Eni

    How can I make it without the printouts

  20. David Avatar
    David

    I guess you can eyeball it, but printing out the pieces is really the only way to do this activity. If you don’t have a printer, you might be able to print it at your local library? or if you go to school, you could ask a teacher or librarian to help you print it out.

  21. M Hathaway Avatar
    M Hathaway

    I’m putting together your model for a school Library display to go along with this years NSS book, Give me Space. It is going together very well and I have found that using a large texta has helped with the rounded parts of the model.
    Looking forward to hanging it up. Thank You.

  22. Laurence Avatar
    Laurence

    Un très grand merci pour mes élèves !!!
    Thank you very much !

  23. Shaun Avatar
    Shaun

    I use normal paper on large rocket models

  24. jake Avatar
    jake

    can we print the thing for the ISS and then trace it with cardstock and then glue it on together and then assemble it

    1. Jasmine Fellows Avatar
      Jasmine Fellows

      Yes, you can. I think it would be best with a lighter weight cardstock to prevent it from getting too thick.

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