Since the International Space Station began its work in manned mode, no less than 16 years have passed. In this regard, NASA decided to recall several significant events in the life of the station.
1. ISS was assembled in space
From 1998 to 2011, five different space agencies, representing 15 countries, began construction in low-earth orbit of a large engineering structure, which remains to this day the largest ever built in space. Today people still live and work in this orbital station. November 2, 2016 marks 16 years since the incessant human presence on the ISS.
2. Arrival of ISS-1 crew members
On November 2, 2000, the Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft with the crew of the first long-term expedition docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS-1 crew included Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko, Sergei Krikalev and American astronaut William Shepherd.
3.September 11, 2001
NASA astronaut Frank Culbertson was the only American not on Earth when the September 11, 2001 tragedy struck. From his observation post on the International Space Station, Culbertson snapped a photograph of the horrific event.
The ISS provides a unique opportunity for Earth observation. The members of the station take many pictures of a wide range of events, which then help scientists in many ways.
4. The robotic arm played a key role in the assembly of the station
The Japanese experimental module, or Kibo, was installed on the ISS on June 3, 2008. Kibo is Japanese for hope. This is the largest module in the space station.
5. The first crew of 6 people
In May 2009, the first crew of 6 people began work on the ISS. It included representatives of all space agencies (NASA, CSA, ESA, JAXA, Roskosmos) participating in this international project. This was the first and last time that cosmonauts and astronauts from all 5 agencies gathered at the station.
6. Commercial ships
On May 25, 2012, the Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle to dock with the ISS. At the moment, companies such as SpaceX and Orbital ATK are actively involved in the delivery of various cargoes to the station.
7. The Olympic flame has been in space
The torch was carried from the ISS by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky. The Olympic torch relay, which took place in Russia before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, became the largest relay race since the tradition emerged in the 1930s.
8. "Fire" on the ISS
On the International Space Station, as part of the FLEX-2 experiment, scientists set fire to a mixture of heptane and isooctane. Such experiments are carried out by astronauts to study combustion in microgravity.
9. Aurora Borealis
The earth, engulfed in the magical tints of the aurora, is one of the favorite spectacles of the ISS crew. The views from the station are truly picturesque.
10. Sunrises and sunsets
Since the space station orbits at a speed of about 28 thousand km per hour, the ISS crew members meet 16 sunrises and sunsets per day.
11. Water bubbles
Liquid in zero gravity takes the shape of a ball. Experiments with it, both funny and the most serious, are often carried out on the ISS.
Over the 16-year history of the ISS, there have been many exits overboard the station. In February 2015, astronauts Terry Werts and Barry Wilmore captured their spacewalk on GoPro.
13. DNA sequencing
American astronaut and molecular biologist Keith Rubins sequenced DNA for the first time in microgravity on board the ISS. Sequencing was performed as part of the Biomolecule Sequencer experiment on MinION mobile equipment.
14. Milky Way
When the ISS flies past the "night" side of the Earth, the crew members can enjoy the view of our Galaxy.
15. Tasting of lettuce grown on the ISS
NASA astronauts Scott Kelly, Chell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui tasted lettuce leaves grown in space for the first time. This event took place in August 2015.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) is an experimental inflatable living module manufactured by Bigelow Aerospace. In May of this year, members of the space expedition Jeff Williams and Oleg Skripochka conducted the first test of the ISS inflatable module. If BEAM performs well in further tests, it will be used as a cheap and potentially safe housing for future space missions.