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Space station celebrates its 15th birthday


Posted on Thursday, 21 November, 2013 | Comment icon 10 comments


The observatory module provides an unparalleled view of the Earth. Image Credit: NASA

The International Space Station is now 15 years old and is expected to continue until at least 2028.

When the first module of the station went in to space in November 1998, the ambitious orbital outpost was only expected to have a 15-year lifespan. Far from being in danger of retirement however the station has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is likely to stay operational for at least double the original estimate.

The road to the station's completion was a long, complex and expensive one but now that it is finished, attentions are turning away from construction and instead towards conducting science experiments and research. As the world's only dedicated zero-gravity laboratory, the ISS provides a unique opportunity to carry out studies covering a wide range of different areas.

"We've ramped up our research now from 15 to 20 hours a week, we targeted 35 hours and we've actually exceeded that, we're now getting easily 45 hours of science work out of the station," said ISS deputy program manager Dan Hartman.

With the possibility of a manned mission to Mars looming on the horizon, the station is set to prove invaluable in field-testing the technologies needed to make such a trip possible and to help those future explorers survive away from the Earth for up to several years at a time.

   
Source: The Register | Comments (10)

Tags: ISS, Space Station


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 1:27
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 1:32
Comment icon #3 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 1:34
Public Affairs Officer Dan Huot talks to Mike Lammers, International Space Station flight director, about his experience at the beginning of the space station assembly era in 1998. Lammers built shuttle and station simulators during this period and also trained the first space shuttle crew, STS-88, to deliver a space station element. The first space station module in orbit was Russia's Zarya cargo module launched aboard a Proton rocket on Nov. 20, 1998. The second module was the United States' Unity node launched Dec. 4, 1998, aboard space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-88 mission... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 1:36
Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 38 Commander Oleg Kotov and his crewmates, NASA's Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio, Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and cosmonauts Sergey Ryazanskiy and Mikhail Tyurin of the Russian Federal Space Agency paid tribute to the Nov. 20, 1998 launching of Zarya, the first component of the complex. The space station has grown into a world-class research laboratory, is the size of a football field and has a mass of almost a million pounds. Credit: NASA
Comment icon #5 Posted by DONTEATUS on 21 November, 2013, 2:10
What is the actual life of the station ? Didnt it have a twenty year life?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 15:21
I believe it is planned to keep it operational until at least 2020. The Russian (who have far more experience of space stations than anyone else) believe that a 30 year life time is possible.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 15:43
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Nov. 20, 1998 launch of Zarya, the first component of the International Space Station, this music video includes external and internal footage from various stages of construction of the complex. Credit: NASA
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 16:16
Space shuttle Endeavour flew the first construction mission for the International Space Station in December 1998, with Bob Cabana in command. Carrying the Unity node, Endeavour and its crew of astronauts and cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev rendezvoused with the Russian-made Zarya module in orbit and connected the two together to form the cornerstone of a structure that would grow to dwarf all other spacecraft and space stations. Fifteen years later, the orbiting laboratory has hosted dozens of astronauts and cosmonauts from all over the world to fulfill its mission of providing a permanent hum... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by ROGER on 21 November, 2013, 18:27
I wish we could get a few more dollars to expand the size a little more. Get some of those Bigalow attachment on it .
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 November, 2013, 18:36
The size is going to be increased, there are more Russian modules to come. Also a Bigelow module is going to be attached in 2015 (see ).


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