Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Decade Of Building A Station In Space

Ten years ago, on Nov. 20, 1998, the first part of the International Space Station was launched by the Russians from Kazakhstan.

Two weeks later, the next piece of the Space Station was carried up by a NASA space shuttle. Astronauts and cosmonauts would move in two years later and the ISS has grown in size and accommodations since.

In fact, over the last decade, the International Space Station has traveled 1.3 billion miles, and orbited Earth more than 57,300 times. To date, it's taken 80 rocket launchings to construct and staff the space station.

One hundred sixty-seven individuals representing 14 countries have visited the complex. Crews have eaten some 19,000 meals aboard the station since the year 2000. Through the course of 114 spacewalks and the use of robotic construction in space, the station's truss structure has grown to 291 feet long. Its solar arrays now span to 28,800 square feet, large enough to cover six basketball courts.

After the Shuttle Endeavor completes its current mission, the space station will have five sleep stations, two baths, two kitchens and two mini-gyms. There will be nine rooms in total, three of them full-scale labs. The station's human capacity will double from 3 people at a time to six. Three-quarters complete, the total mass of the ISS will soon be 627,000 pounds. NASA says it's about the size of a five-bedroom house.

The Endeavour Shuttle linked to the space station sailed past its 10-year anniversary at 1:40 a.m. EST while the astronauts slept. Mission Control marked the occasion by showing video of the first rocket's launch in 1998.

So, today marks a decade of construction of an international station in space. Its a true engineering marvel and a example of what is possible by combining global cooperation, with human courage and space science.

For More On the ISS Read: Tracking The Progress Of The International Space Station and The Walk That Saved The International Space Station on eworldvu

No comments: