For eons, man has looked up to the stars and wondered about the mysteries that space might hold. In the 1960s, the space race sped up our forage into the unknown. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to go to space and 8 years later, man walked on the moon.
Decades later, work began constructing the ISS (International Space Station) to allow us to study our galaxy and the universe much closer, along with studying the effects of long exposure to microgravity – which has assisted scientists and NASA employees in developing space crafts.
The question is, do people actually live in the International Space Station? And if so, what do they do? How long do they stay there?
We’ve written a great guide for you to understand all the information about the International Space Station that you crave. So, let’s find out!
History Of The International Space Station
The International Space Station is a sizable spacecraft that orbits the Earth. In 1998, the very first part of the International Space Station was sent into orbit, followed shortly after by a control module designed by the Russians.
Over the course of the next two years, more and more parts of the International Space Station were sent up until it was complete enough for people to inhabit it. Construction was completed over time by astronauts in space.
You can actually see the International Space Station with the naked eye from Earth, as it is the biggest man-made star.
Do People Live At The International Space Station?
The original crew went to the Space Station in November 2000.
Ever since then, it has always been inhabited. It is basically a home for the crew that is composed of astronauts, cosmonauts, and other trained scientists.
Not only is it a fascinating construction that works as a home and study hub, but it also serves as a highly advanced laboratory.
What is perhaps more fascinating is that it orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, allowing for fantastic photography of the Earth. Its travel speed is estimated to be 17,500 miles per hour at an altitude of around 250 miles.
NASA is learning some valuable information about space and space travel, along with our human interaction with outer space.
The information will prove to be vital in future years for sending humans and other technology further into space and the vast universe than we ever have done before.
Since its inception, the International Space Station has been called home for 242 people – and these people have had some exceptional experiences.
They’ve been among those who can boast of being the first marriage in space, the oldest woman in space, the oldest space-walker, and the first space marathon.
The residents have hailed from many different nations, including The United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Brazil, Denmark, Iran, Sweden, South Korea, and Malaysia.
The make-up of the International Space Station is fascinating in itself.
It’s comprised of Russian living quarters, US, European, and Japanese research labs, a robot arm created by the Canadians, solar arrays, an area for a 360-degree view of the Earth (acting as a window), batteries, radiators, and a truss structure which is the size of a football field!
It probably comes to an as little surprise that with all of this construction, the weight of the International Space Station is quite heavy, it’s estimated to be near a million pounds!
The final part of its construction was in 2011 and to do so has taken numerous different shuttle missions among other space endeavors that have involved the transport of essential supplies such as food and water, fuel, parts, and tools.
But, at the end of it all – we are all human, so the residents of the Space Station have also had other things sent up at the same time including birthday cards and presents, a space toilet, a coffee machine and health and beauty products like skincare and toothpaste.
What Happened In The Last 20 Years?
There have been 64 different crews in the Space Station and the usual time frame that they stay is (in our time) between a few months and a year or more.
Originally, there was a rotation process of 3 crew members being collected and alighted by shuttles.
In fact, the Russians sent up frequent “taxi cab” services that allow for the collection of space employees but also act as commercial tourism.
The first was in 2001 when Dennis Tito, a wealthy engineer, paid a massive $20 million to go up with the service and spent 7 days in the Space Station.
He would not be the only one though, as over the coming years – many others would take advantage of this.
However, a decade later in 2011, following the completion of the International Space Station, NASA decided to cease these shuttles, reserving space travel only for crews. However, as technology and science are advancing – it does look like tourism in space might soon take off once more.
What Might Happen In The Next 20 Years?
We can almost certainly expect to see more space-tourism programs coming back into place, particularly when wealthy figures decide to be a part of the development, such as actors or musicians.
Other leading figures in space travel like Elon Musk are assisting science with such things as the Space-X program.
Recently, NASA has sent the James Webb telescope into space in order for it to act as the next Hubble telescope which can hopefully help us view things much further into our own universe.
The International Space Station might be able to help out with this.
With human space expeditions and missions planned for further into our solar system, it’s possible they will be able to use the International Space Station as a refueling center or hub for emergencies – but the more likely idea is that they will build more Space Stations further into space to allow us to learn much more about our world.
Is The International Space Station Important?
From the day we ventured into space, we have wanted to know much more about what we were seeing and experiencing.
Since the day that the first people stayed in the Space Station, man has effectively had a strong presence in space.
The reason that the International Space Station is so important is that it allows us to keep a strong foothold in space – which has the potential to teach us so much more about our universe and our own planet.
The lessons we can learn from this can be invaluable when it comes to things like potential disasters, hidden mysteries, and if there is another life out there.
We could even learn about the effects of things like global warming on our planet – allowing us to plan better in the future.
To answer the original question, yes – people do live on the International Space Station and have done so ever since 1998.
People will continue to live there in the future and it hopes to answer many questions about our world.