|Volume: 01, Issue: 09|
1,000 Days of Human Presence on the International Space StationA milestone was marked in space Tuesday: the 1,000th consecutive day of people living and working aboard the International Space Station. Seven crews have lived on the Space Station, as it has dramatically grown in size and capabilities.
Since the first crew arrived Nov. 2, 2000, the Station has grown into an unparalleled space laboratory whose size will eventually more than double. The living and working area has increased 6,000 cubic feet during the past 1,000 days. The Station's 15,000 cubic feet volume is larger than a three-bedroom house.
The seven Expedition crews, 10 Americans and 10 Russians, have conducted 12 spacewalks from the Station and welcomed 11 visiting Shuttles, 10 Russian Progress cargo vehicles and four Soyuz taxi crews. Additions to the Station include solar arrays of unprecedented size; the first space railway, stretching more than 130 feet; and a science facility, the U.S. Destiny Lab, that is more sophisticated than any ever previously flown in space. Canada provided a new generation of space robotics with the unmatched capabilities of the Canadarm2. Dual Russian and U.S. airlocks are functional and support spacewalks.
Inside the orbiting complex, crews have created a home, as well as a laboratory with quarters, galley, and weightless "weight room" along side seven research facilities.
Aboard the Station, research has been conducted in bioastronautics, physical sciences, fundamental space biology, space product development and space flight disciplines. Experiments conducted by Station crews may provide insight that could lead to improved crops, better braking systems, advanced spacecraft materials and petroleum industry advancements. Space Station research also provides crucial insight into the effects of weightlessness on humans, paving the way for future human space exploration, as well as fundamental research in cell growth and fluid physics.
Astronaut Peggy Whitson, the first NASA International Space Station Science Officer named last year during Expedition 5, helped intensify the focus on research. Today, Lu continues research inside the Destiny Lab. He recently installed a new experiment in the Microgravity Science Glovebox that studies a reduction in the strength of metals, such as those used in turbine blades and dental fillings.
The Expedition 7 crew also maintains the Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle Schools (EarthKAM) project that involves middle school students from around the world. Through the optical quality window in the Destiny Lab, students have taken more than 6,000 photos of Earth via EarthKam to support classes in Earth science, geography, social studies, mathematics and art.
During the next 1,000 days, Station science operations will increase. The assembly of essential U.S. Station components is expected to continue followed by the installation of international laboratories that will triple the size of research facilities. The European Columbus Laboratory will expand the Station's size to that of a five-bedroom house. A European Automated Transfer Vehicle will serve as an additional spacecraft for transporting supplies to the Station. The "Kibo" Japanese Experiment Module will be added to further increase the Station's science capabilities.
For information about NASA, human space flight, astronauts, and the International Space Station on the Internet, visit:
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