A group of American and Russian astronauts prepare for a mission to the International Space Station (Photo: Mikhail Japaridze\TASS via Getty Images)

A total of 236 people from 18 countries have visited the International Space Station (ISS) since construction began in 1998. The total number of visitors to the space station since it's been permanently crewed, which began in Nov. 2000, is 219 people from the same 18 countries.

Driving the news: The current expedition, Expedition 59, is made up of six astronauts — including 3 Americans, 2 Russians and a Canadian. The expedition began in March 2019.

  • Two Russian cosmonauts, Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Kononenko, are headed outside of the ISS for a spacewalk on Wednesday to "retrieve science experiments and conduct maintenance," per NASA. The spacewalk began at 11:44 a.m. ET and is expected to last 6.5 hours. You can watch it here.

The backdrop: The $100 billion ISS has been continuously occupied by rotating crews of astronauts since its first crew arrived in November 2000, according to NASA.

  • There are typically three to six astronauts aboard at once and they can live on the station for six months or, in some cases, a year at a time.
  • The working and living space of the station is larger than a 6-bedroom house.

Visitors to the International Space Station by country, per NASA:

  • The United States: 149 people
    • Christina Koch, Nick Hague and Anne McClain are currently on the station.
  • Russia: 47 people
    • Aleksey Ovchinin and Oleg Kononenko are currently on the station.
  • Japan: 9 people
  • Canada: 8 people
    • David Saint-Jacques is currently on the station.
  • Italy: 5 people
  • France: 4 people
  • Germany: 3 people
  • Belgium: 1 person
  • Netherlands: 1 person
  • Sweden: 1 person
  • Brazil: 1 person
  • Denmark: 1 person
  • Kazakhstan: 1 person
  • Malaysia: 1 person
  • South Africa: 1 person
  • South Korea: 1 person
  • Spain: 1 person
  • Great Britain: 1 person

Go deeper: Where the International Space Station is right now

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87, the Supreme Court announced Friday evening.

Why it matters: Ginsburg had suffered from serious health issues over the past few years. Her death sets up a fight over filling a Supreme Court seat with less than 50 days until the election.

NYT: White House drug price negotiations broke down over $100 "Trump Cards"

President Trump with Mark Meadows, his chief of staff, on Sept. 3 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Negotiations on a deal between the White House and pharmaceutical industry to lower drug prices broke down last month after Mark Meadows, the president's chief of staff, insisted that drugmakers pay for $100 cash cards to be mailed to seniors before the election, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Some of the drug companies feared that in agreeing to the prescription cards — reportedly dubbed "Trump Cards" by some in the pharmaceutical industry — they would boost Trump's political standing weeks ahead of Election Day with voters over 65, a group that is crucial to the president's reelection bid, per the Times.

In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.