The International Space Station (ISS) will provide an Earth‐ and space‐observing platform that will support sensors built by 16 different countries and deliver data and images for local, regional and global research. When complete, it will be an exceptional platform for conducting remote sensing of the Earth, astrophysics, and space physics research programmes. Additionally, the ISS will operate as a testbed for engineering studies and complex technological developments that will benefit future Earth‐observing capabilities. The key question addressed here is: What can the ISS give the Earth Science community that current and planned satellite platforms do not already offer? To answer this query we provide characteristics of the ISS structure, current and proposed instruments, orbital characteristics, and instrument accessibility by crew. We show how the Earth‐observing instruments on ISS complement current satellite‐based Earth‐observing sensors.