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International Space Station Celebrates 15 Years

posted: 11/02/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
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At 4:23 a.m. this morning, the International Space Station celebrated 15 years of consecutive human presence in Low Earth Orbit. During the early morning hours of November 2, 2000, the three-man crew of Expedition 1 arrived aboard the floating laboratory, a massive project launched by five different space agencies representing more than a dozen nations.

Since then, 45 crewed expeditions have brought more than 220 astronauts from 17 different countries to ISS. Nearly 2,000 scientific investigations have spawned 1,200 peer-reviewed publications.

ISS on 11/2/2000
NASA

After several additions over the past 15 years, the space station now offers more livable space than a six-bedroom house. Weighing in at 925,000 pounds, the station as a whole is several times larger than Mir and Skylab, its predecessors.

Related: Fresh Lettuce is Now on the ISS Menu

The One Year Mission, one of the station's current scientific investigations, explores the long-term impacts of spaceflight on the human body. Helmed by Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, the mission is an important "stepping stone" to future Mars exploration missions, NASA says. Throughout the mission, the agency will also compare the health of Scott Kelly with that of his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, on Earth.

NASA has committed to funding the space station's operation through at least 2024.

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