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article imageInternational Space Station marks 2 decades of humans on board

By Karen Graham     Oct 30, 2020 in Technology
The first International Space Station component was launched in 1998, and the first long-term residents arrived on November 2, 2000. Next week, on November 2, 2020, we will celebrate 20 years of continuous human occupation of the orbiting laboratory.
There are a number of events already scheduled, leading up to the 20th-anniversary celebration on Monday. NASA and space agencies around the world are using the milestone to underscore our achievements in space since the end of deep-space crewed missions in the 1970s and the space shuttle program in 2011.
Former astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who participated in its construction, finds it hard to believe the ISS has been inhabited for two decades. He has been to the orbiting station three times and was the last person to visit before permanent missions started in 2000.
"After so many years, it's still in very good shape," López-Alegría said. "The ISS is the most audacious and complex construction project ever undertaken in space. It's pretty amazing that everything fits together perfectly and it all works so well."
Astronaut Michael A. López-Alegría  Expedition 14 commander and NASA ISS science officer  particip...
Astronaut Michael A. López-Alegría, Expedition 14 commander and NASA ISS science officer, participates in a 6-hour, 18-minute spacewalk on 22 February 2007 to retract a stuck antenna on a cargo spacecraft and perform some miscellaneous tasks.
The original uploader was Gildir at English Wikipedia.
"The space station is an integral part of space exploration," López-Alegría said. "We still haven't been able to build reliable life-support systems for a lengthy mission to Mars, such as carbon dioxide scrubbers to keep the air breathable for long periods without replacements. The space station is the best place to test things like that."
And that's what is so amazing about the orbiting microgravity and space environment research laboratory. Even more amazing is that 241 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 3,000 research and educational investigations from people in 108 countries and areas.
This artist s concept depicts the Space Station Freedom as it would look orbiting the Earth  illustr...
This artist's concept depicts the Space Station Freedom as it would look orbiting the Earth, illustrated by Marshall Space Flight Center artist, Tom Buzbee. Image dated 1991.
NASA/Tom Buzbee
The ISS evolved from the Space Station Freedom
The International Space Station orbiting the Earth today began as an idea in 1984 to construct a permanently crewed Earth-orbiting station. Russia had the same idea with its Mir-2 proposal in 1976. As it turns out, the ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations and the U.S. Skylab.
The ISS has been a collaborative project involving five space agencies, including NASA, Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). Ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
Leonardo  the newly-installed Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) of the International Space Station...
Leonardo, the newly-installed Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) of the International Space Station is featured in this image - dated March 2, 2011 - photographed by an Expedition 26 crew member while space shuttle Discovery (STS-133) remains docked with the station.
The ISS is the largest artificial object in space and the largest satellite in low Earth orbit, regularly visible to the naked eye from Earth's surface. It can make 15.54 orbits every 24 hours, with each orbit taking 92.68 minutes. And the ISS is fast-moving, too. Its orbital speed is 7.66 kilometers per second, or 27,600 kilometers per hour (17,100 mph), according to Heavens-Above.
The space station is divided into two main sections: the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS), operated by Russia; and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations. The latest major pressurized module, Leonardo, was fitted in 2011 and an experimental inflatable space habitat was added in 2016.
Customize iconic images from the past 20 years of the ISS in your favorite colors with the NASA Edit...
Customize iconic images from the past 20 years of the ISS in your favorite colors with the NASA Edition of the Art Coloring Book.
Google Arts and Culture Experiments
Celebrate with NASA
Google has joined in the 20th-anniversary celebration by creating a couple of fun activities for kids and adults. The first fun-activity is a solo or multiplayer Puzzle Party experiment. It is Google's first game produced in collaboration with a single partner,
it includes a dedicated set of images from NASA’s ISS archives on Google Arts & Culture to play with your friends and family. Piece together photographs ranging from the exterior views of the space station to astronauts on spacewalks, to learn more about the incredible work being done up in orbit.
For those who enjoy coloring pages, again for kids and adults - recreate and remix some of the most iconic shots from the ISS — from shuttle launches to sightings of Earth from the station’s picture window known as the Cupola — with a NASA edition of the Art Coloring Book experiment, allowing anyone to make these images their own.
More about International Space Station, five space agencies, pressurised habitation modules, 20 years of habitation, november 2
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