On Monday, Nov. 2, the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated continuous human residency for 15 years. The celebration marked a glorious day in the history of human habitation on space.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, together with its international partners, celebrated the event on Earth, and so did the six astronauts aboard the ISS. The space crew, composed of American, Russian and Japanese astronauts, planned a special dinner — just one of the 26,500 meals served in the ISS so far — to celebrate.
Human presence has been persistent at the ISS since the launch of Expedition 1, with a total of 5,478 days of habitation and counting.
NASA said the ISS has expanded from three to 13 rooms since the year 2000. At present, it boasts a mass of approximately one million pounds and a pressure volume as high as a Boeing 747.
The experiments performed at the ISS are said to be more than 1,760 over the years, according to NASA. A total of 189 spacewalks have occurred at the station, which aim to create and maintain the outpost since the station was first built in 1998. The 190th spacewalk is scheduled on Friday, Nov. 6, wherein astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will again venture out.
NASA is looking at keeping the complex up and running until the year 2024. With this, more maintenance work will be necessitated as the ISS continues to age.
Humans have come and gone at the ISS since the first crew settled in. About 220 people from 17 different countries have already been to the station.
Dr. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said that the collaboration between international representatives that helps keep the ISS running is an outstanding sign of what humanity could grasp should people work together peacefully.
"I congratulate all of the men and women at NASA and around the world who have worked so hard to keep the International Space Station operational these past 15 years," he said.
Charles Bolden, administrator at NASA said that since the ISS launch in 2000, humans have been persistently inhabiting it. The space crew has been working outside the Earth enhancing scientific understanding, exhibiting innovative technologies and creating breakthroughs that will help both humans and robots engage in long-term deep space research.