What orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and travels at 17,500 miles per hour? It’s the International Space Station -— an engineering feat launched in 1998 through an international collaboration.
But according to a Dec. 1 Instagram post, the International Space Station isn’t in space at all — it’s inside a large swimming pool. “The International Space Station is real,” the post said over a collage of pictures of what looks like a submerged structure. “It is in this pool … and these are spacewalks.”
The post, made by an account that promotes the false premise that the Earth is flat, included a collage of photos that showed astronauts submerged in a pool. The post’s caption read, “International Swimming Station.”
The post was flagged as part of Instagram’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The post’s photos come from NASA and show personnel training at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston. The lab is one of the world’s largest indoor swimming pools and, according to NASA, is used by astronauts to “simulate an environment similar to the microgravity environment — they don’t sink or float.”
The lab has communications equipment and simulation control to help astronauts practice for spacewalk and eventually missions to the real International Space Station.
Five space agencies from 15 countries operate the International Space Station. Astronauts have occupied the station continuously since 2000, living, working and studying on the 356-foot-long structure while it orbits the Earth.
Skeptics have long denied the existence of space and space exploration, and PolitiFact has checked numerous false claims about outer space being a hoax. Space is real. And so is the International Space Station. NASA reports it is the third-brightest object in Earth’s sky after the sun and moon.
We rate the claim that the International Space Station is not in space, but in a pool Pants on Fire!