The International Space Station celebrated 15 years on November 3rd, a long line of achievements, the agencies that made it possible and the astronaut crews ever to step aboard.
15 years may seem like a short period of time. 15 years in space are measured differently. For the International Space Station represented by all the astronaut crews ever to step aboard, these are 15 long years of breaking records and advancing science.
Think of a time when the International Space Station was much smaller than it is today, when internet access was unheard of on board and ventilation wasn’t the best of the conditions the crew would find.
With budget cuts plaguing the project from the very beginning, the U.S.-Russian Federation partnership launched a very different International Space Station into orbit than was initially planned. Despite all odds, it grew hundred folds since 2000 and has steadily remained a symbol of international cooperation for the benefit of humanity and science.
As the International Space Station celebrated 15 years on November 3rd, Bill Shepherd, the first commander to lead an expedition on the International Space Station stated:
“What does the Space Station mean in the context of the next century, the next millennium? I think it is a good roadmap for bigger things in the future”.
November 3rd, 2015 marked 15 years since the Expedition 1 crew set foot on the International Space Station at 5:23 a.m. EST, November 2nd, 2000. The crew was formed from commander Bill Shepherd and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko.
Compared to the recently announced records of Scott Kelly, commander of Expedition 44 and 45, Bill Shepherd had only clocked 18 days in space before embarking on a four and a half month space experience on the International Space Station. Gidzenko, as well as Krikalev were more experienced than the Expedition 1 commander.
Much has changed since those days. With small pieces of history planted by Shepherd’s crew around the orbiting outpost, the International Space Station evolved. It may now host six people in what resembles a large six-bedroom home.
The six-member crew has constant internet access, thus the charming Twitter accounts filled with space news and incredible photos. Almost constant contact with Earth is a benefit. The number of experiments has increased from 22 to 191.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia