Lessons about life in space after 20 years of the International Space Station18 September 2021
Today marks 20 years since the first residents arrived on the International Space Station (ISS). Habitat in space has been continuously occupied since then.
Twenty consecutive years of life in space make the ISS the “natural laboratory” ideal for understanding how societies beyond the Earth work.
ISS is a collaboration between 25 space agencies and organizations. It has hosted 241 crews and 19 tourists from 19 countries. This is a total of 43% of all people who have ever traveled in space.
As future missions to the Moon and Mars are planned, it is important to know what people need to thrive in remote and dangerous environments, where there is no easy way home. .
The first fictional space station was Edward Everett Hale’s 1869 Brick Moon. Inside were 13 spherical living rooms.
In 1929, Hermann Noordung theorized a wheel-shaped space station that would rotate to create “artificial” gravity. The Spinning Wheel was supported by scientist Wernher von Braun in the 1950s and appeared in the 1968 classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The first space station was Salyut 1 in the USSR in 1971, followed by six other stations in the Salyut program over the next decade. The United States launched the first space station, Skylab, in 1973. All of these were tube-shaped structures.
The Soviet Mir station, launched in 1986, was the first to be built with a core to which other modules were later added. Mir was still in orbit when the first modules of the International Space Station were launched in 1998. Mir was shot down in 2001. it ended when it fell into the atmosphere. What survived probably reached less than 5,000 meters on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The ISS now consists of 16 modules: four Russian, nine American, two Japanese and one European. It is the size of a five-bedroom house inside, with six regular crews serving six months in a row.
However, there are some advantages. The Dome module offers probably the best view available to humans anywhere: a 180-degree panorama of the Earth passing below.