Status Report

Space Station Marks Human Presence Milestone

By SpaceRef Editor
October 25, 2001
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The International Space Station marks a milestone in
space history next week — one full year of continuous
international human presence in orbit. It’s a year that has
seen the space platform become the largest, most
sophisticated and most powerful spacecraft ever built.

The International Space Station has grown from a 70-ton,
efficiency apartment-sized foothold in orbit to a space
laboratory of unprecedented capability. The station is now a
150-ton orbiting complex with more volume than a three-
bedroom house.

Three crews, made up of four American astronauts and five
Russian cosmonauts, have called the space outpost home. The
Expedition One crew first opened the hatch Nov. 2, 2000, for
a trailblazing shakedown mission. The successive expeditions
have played a vital role in the station’s rapid construction
and have expanded its operational and scientific research

“During the past year, NASA has flown a series of missions as
complex and challenging as any ever executed, and they have
resulted in an outstanding station now in orbit,”
International Space Station Program Manager Tommy Holloway

“The teams on the ground worldwide and in space have
performed to a standard of operational excellence as high as
any achieved in NASA’s history, including the landings of
astronauts on the lunar surface,” added Holloway. “Their
achievement this year must be recognized as one that has
expanded the envelope of human technology, ingenuity and

Fourteen spacecraft have visited the International Space
Station in the past 12 months, including four different types
of space vehicles. Additions to the station during that time
include the largest solar arrays ever built, the U.S. Destiny
space laboratory, a new generation of Canadian space robotics
called Canadarm2, and airlocks that accommodate both American
and Russian spacesuits, enhancing the station’s self-

“The station is the largest international engineering project
ever undertaken in space, and it is the first truly global
space exploration effort,” Holloway said. “Its unprecedented
scale in orbital size and capability will be matched in the
future by the scale of the benefits its research will bring
to lives on Earth.”

Equipment and experiments from the major station partners —
the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and the European
Space Agency — have been launched to the complex. A total of
79 visits by space fliers to the station so far have included
men and women representing six different nations. Almost
50,000 hours of station operations and scientific experiments
have been conducted, with investigations controlled by
astronauts in space and remotely by scientists on the

Since the beginning of the station’s construction, 28
assembly spacewalks have been
performed. This represents more than one-quarter of all
American spacewalks carried out in NASA’s four-decade
history. In the past year alone, 18 spacewalks have been
completed, which is more than in any previous 12-month period
in the history of human space flight.

More information about the International Space Station, an
archive of its operations for the past year, and associated
images are available on the Internet at:

SpaceRef staff editor.