Press Release

American Astronautical Society Statement on the International Space Station Partners’ Accomplishment

By SpaceRef Editor
May 31, 2008
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American Astronautical Society Statement on the International Space Station Partners’ Accomplishment

The American Astronautical Society (AAS) today hailed the launch of NASA’s Space Shuttle flight STS-124 which successfully placed two new Japanese elements, the “Kibo” (Hope) pressurized Japanese Experiment Module and Remote Manipulator System, into orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS). This mission is a landmark event as all the major partners’ pressurized elements for the ISS have now been launched into Earth orbit. AAS members celebrated the accomplishment of the ISS partners whose commitment to a continuous human presence in space will enable further scientific research on the effects of the space environment and micro-gravity on physical and biological systems.

In 2007, AAS recognized the International Space Station Partnership with the prestigious Advancement of International Cooperation Award for its contribution to pioneering the space frontier through the design, development, assembly, management and operation of the ISS.

AAS President Frank Slazer recognized the historic STS-124 launch stating, “We salute this major accomplishment by the international partners to build an orbiting laboratory for the benefit of humankind.” Slazer added, “This important launch shows what can be achieved through real and lasting international cooperation in space.”

The achievement comes 10 years after the signing of the Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on January 28, 1998 by 15 governments including the United States, Canada, Japan, the Russian Federation, and eleven Member States of the European Space Agency. That agreement established a long term cooperative framework for the development and utilization of the ISS.

The launch of the two new Japanese elements on STS-124 and the subsequent launch of the Exposed Facility to the ISS next year completes the full complement of orbiting partner laboratories and adds to a scientific platform which is already the largest man-made object ever to circle the Earth. The Russian Zarya (Functional Cargo Block), Zveda (Service Module) and Pirs Docking Module, together with the American Unity (Node 1), Destiny (Laboratory), Harmony (Node 2) and Quest Joint Airlock, European Columbus (Laboratory), Canadian (Dextre Robotic Arm), and Japanese Kibo (Pressurized Laboratory, Exposed Facility, Logistics Module and Robotic Arm), comprise the core ISS elements. The main elements, launched over ten years beginning in November 1998 with Zarya, now constitute over 245 metric tons in orbit.

Once the full complement of international elements, power and life support equipment are installed, the ISS will be able to host a crew of six people. Active work has already begun in numerous scientific fields focusing on areas such as the effect of near-weightlessness on the development and growth of plants and animals, the growth of human-like tissues and protein crystals as well as the effects of long-term space exposure on the human body. The experience gained from work on the ISS will also be utilized in plans for future space colonization and lengthy space exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The ISS is now opening the door to a new era of human space exploration.

About the AAS

Formed in 1954, the American Astronautical Society (AAS) is the premier independent scientific and technical group in the United States exclusively dedicated to the advancement of space science and exploration. We strongly support the U.S. Space Exploration Policy, and are members of the Coalition for Space Exploration and the Space Exploration Alliance. We are also committed to strengthening the global space program through cooperation with international space organizations.

Press Contact:

Mary Lynne Dittmar

SpaceRef staff editor.