Space Station Crews Mark Three Years Aboard
In a period
that has exemplified the benefits of international cooperation in
space, the International Space Station will complete a third year
of permanent human presence aboard on Sunday, Nov. 2.
The third year
of humans living aboard the station has been marked by the perseverance
of the orbiting laboratory and international partnership through
the tragedy of the Columbia accident.
that continuously pushes the boundaries of human achievment can
have times of both great triumph and great tragedy. The space agencies
and nations around the world that are our partners in the Station
understand that and they have experienced it," ISS Program Manager
Bill Gerstenmaier said. "The perseverance of crewed operations aboard
the Station this year has brought the partnership closer together,
and it will strengthen the Station through both the improvements
in safety that we plan and the lessons we learn together."
resident crew -- Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Mike Foale
and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri -- began a six-month stay aboard
the complex Oct. 20.
remains the largest, most sophisticated and most powerful spacecraft
ever built. Until the Space Shuttle fleet returns to flight, the
transport of supplies and crews to the Station will be conducted
by Russian spacecraft. The majority of power, cooling, volume and
research capacity on the station are supplied by U.S. components.
The station has a mass of almost 400,000 pounds and an interior
volume roughly equal to that of a three-bedroom house. The U.S.
Destiny Laboratory now houses seven different research facilities.
The International Space Station partnership includes NASA; Rosaviakosmos,
the Russian Space Agency; the Canadian Space Agency; the European
Space Agency; and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
At the Kennedy
Space Center, Fla., 168,000 pounds of additional Station components
are being prepared for launch when the Space Shuttle returns to
flight. Those components will triple the number of science facilities
aboard the orbiting laboratory, increase the total power available
for research by over 80 percent and triple the surface area of the
Station's solar arrays. Among components at KSC is the second Station
laboratory, the Japanese Experiment Module named Kibo.