Oct. 25, 2001
James Hartsfield/John Ira Petty
SPACE STATION MARKS HUMAN PRESENCE MILESTONE
The International Space Station marks a milestone in space history next week -- one full year of continuous international human presence in orbit. It's a year that has seen the space platform become the largest, most sophisticated and most powerful spacecraft ever built.
Space Station has grown from a 70-ton, efficiency apartment-sized foothold
in orbit to a space laboratory of unprecedented capability. The station
is now a
Three crews, made up of four American astronauts and five Russian cosmonauts, have called the space outpost home. The Expedition One crew first opened the hatch Nov. 2, 2000, for a trailblazing shakedown mission. The successive expeditions have played a vital role in the station's rapid construction and have expanded its operational and scientific research capabilities.
"During the past year, NASA has flown a series of missions as complex and challenging as any ever executed, and they have resulted in an outstanding station now in orbit," International Space Station Program Manager Tommy Holloway said.
"The teams on the ground worldwide and in space have performed to a standard of operational excellence as high as any achieved in NASA's history, including the landings of astronauts on the lunar surface," added Holloway. "Their achievement this year must be recognized as one that has expanded the envelope of human technology, ingenuity and daring."
Fourteen spacecraft have visited the International Space Station in the past 12 months, including four different types of space vehicles. Additions to the station during that time include the largest solar arrays ever built, the U.S. Destiny space laboratory, a new generation of Canadian space robotics called Canadarm2, and airlocks that accommodate both American and Russian spacesuits, enhancing the station's self-sufficiency.
"The station is the largest international engineering project ever undertaken in space, and it is the first truly global space exploration effort," Holloway said. "Its unprecedented scale in orbital size and capability will be matched in the future by the scale of the benefits its research will bring to lives on Earth."
Equipment and experiments from the major station partners -- the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency -- have been launched to the complex. A total of 79 visits by space fliers to the station so far have included men and women representing six different nations. Almost 50,000 hours of station operations and scientific experiments have been conducted, with investigations controlled by astronauts in space and remotely by scientists on the ground.
Since the beginning
of the station's construction, 28 assembly spacewalks have been
More information about the International Space Station, an archive of its operations for the past year, and associated images are available on the Internet at:
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