NASA celebrates 20 years of people living in orbit

U.S. & World

November 2 marks 20 years of continuous habitation of the International Space Station.

NASA says that over 240 individuals from 19 countries have visited the floating laboratory.

The first crew, American Bill Shepherd and Russians Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, blasted off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 31, 2000.

Two days later they swung open the space station doors, clasping their hands in unity.

The space station has since morphed into a complex that’s almost as long as a football field, with eight miles of electrical wiring and three high-tech labs.

Retired astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days isolated in space on a single mission in 2015 and 2016.


”The space station is the hardest thing we’ve ever done. I think harder than going to the moon. And it is really a testament of the fact that if we put our minds to something, if we listen to the experts, if we work together as a team, we could accomplish some incredible thing,” said Kelly.

On October 14, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins a traveled to the International Space Station.

Rubins will celebrate the 20th anniversary of continuous human presence on the space station.

“For the 20th anniversary, I’m incredibly excited to be up there. I think it’s really a testament to the space station that we’ve built, and this has been humans, engineers and scientists from all countries around the world have been part of this. It’s just an incredible engineering and a scientific marvel,” said Rubins.

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