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Celebrating 20 Years of Human Presence on the ISS

Lots of media news this week, as the ISS celebrates 20 years [on November 2] of continuous human presence aboard the orbiting laboratory.

• Overview of operations [PDF]

ISS overview
The International Space Station (ISS) is a unique scientific platform where astronauts conduct experiments across multiple disciplines of research, including Earth and space science, biology, human physiology, physical sciences and technology demonstrations that could not be done anywhere else in the world.

The ISS is approximately 260 miles above the surface of the Earth, just a bit farther than the distance between Washington, D.C. and New York City.

The space station is 357 feet wide, one yard shy of the length of an American football field including the end zones.

Up to eight spacecraft can connect to the space station at any time.

Biology and Biotechnology
Earth and Space Science
Human Research
Technology Development and Demonstration
Physical Science
Educational Activities and Outreach

It can take as few as 6 hours for a spacecraft to arrive to the station from Earth.

The ISS travels at a speed of 5 miles per second or 17,500 mph.

In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, traveling through 16 sunrises and sunsets.

The Water Recovery System recycles 93% of space station waste water, reducing the dependence on water delivered by a cargo spacecraft.

• NASA > Johnson Space Center > “NASA Collaborates with Peanuts Worldwide in Celebration of International Space Station’s 20th Anniversary” by Heather Kinney (October 15, 2020)

NASA is weeks away [on November 2] from 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station (ISS). In celebration, the NASA Space Flight Awareness Program (SFA) and the International Space Station (ISS) Program partnered with Peanuts Worldwide, LLC, to develop a unique product series featuring your favorite Beagle!

• YouTube > NASA > “A Bridge Above: 20 Years of the International Space Station” (Aug 10, 2020)

“What if we built a bridge, between and above all nations, to jointly discover the galaxy’s great unknowns?” Join us this fall as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station. As a global endeavor, 240 people from 19 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory, which has hosted more than 2,800 research investigations from scientists in over 100 nations.

• New NASA Space Flight Awareness posters

Poster image
NASA Space Flight Awareness Program featuring Snoopy
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4 thoughts on “Celebrating 20 Years of Human Presence on the ISS

  1. Memorable moments for the orbital outpost …

    YouTube > ESA > “International Space Station: 20 years in 60 seconds” (Nov 2, 2020)

    Monday 2 November 2020 marks 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station. Relive a few memorable moments from the unique orbital outpost in this clip covering 20 years of the International Space Station in 60 seconds.

    Since Crew One took up residence on 2 November, 240 people including 18 ESA astronauts have lived and worked on the orbital outpost, carrying out essential research to benefit life on Earth.

    The next ESA mission to the International Space Station is set for 2021, when Thomas Pesquet will become the first European to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for his Alpha mission.

  2. An achievement of international cooperation …

    YouTube > ESA > “Space Station 20th: astronauts celebrate humans’ home in space” (Nov 2, 2020)

    In this clip, ESA astronauts Luca Parmitano, Alexander Gerst, Thomas Pesquet, Tim Peake, Andreas Mogensen, André Kuipers, Christer Fuglesang, Frank De Winne and Reinhold Ewald pay tribute to the Station. ESA Director General Jan Wörner and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also speak about the Station’s significance for space exploration and international collaboration.

  3. A useful visual of spacecraft docked at the ISS, as well as an overview of ongoing experiments by Cygnus.

    • NASA Space Flight.com > “NG-14 Cygnus departs ISS, kicks off busy year for Station crew” by Tyler Gray (January 6, 2021)

    With its arrival, Cygnus brought close to 8,000 pounds of cargo, including science experiments, crew supplies, general maintenance equipment, and other personal items.

    During its three-month stay [after docking on October 5, 2020] at the Station, Cygnus served as an extension to the outpost’s science laboratory, with some experiments being installed inside the spacecraft itself rather than in Station science racks. This capability has been demonstrated on previous Cygnus flights.

    Station configuration following arrival of CRS-21 – credit NASA

    Station configuration following arrival of CRS-21 – credit NASA

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