ORLANDO, Fla. – The international space station has become 20 years old.
Construction for the groundbreaking survey began with the launch of the Zarya Functional Cargo Block from Kazakhstan on November 20, 1998.
The ISS’s interim control module took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the load of a proton rocket. It was the building block for many modules to come, including the Unity node that picked up just two weeks later on STS-88 by the spacecraft Endeavor.
While Zarya was launched by the Russian space organization, it was built by Boeing and the agency. Unity’s mating with Zarya was the first of many quests for what is now a structure with a 240-foot long print module, 357.5 feet long truss and 239.4 foot long sunrise weighing 925.335 pounds with a habitable space of 1
3,696 cubic feet.
The current structure, or at least the major components thereof, comes into force with 42 assembly missions, 37 of them from the space shuttle program.
The space station hosts six people and has had more than 230 people from 18 countries on board. It has been continuously occupied since November 2000.
Astronaut Peggy Whitson lived there the longest at 665 days.
It has also hosted more than 2500 scientific experiments from more than 100 countries.
The station circuits 240 miles above the ground once every 90 minutes or so at 5 miles per second.
After 20 years, there are more than 116,000 lanes and more than 2.9 billion miles traveled.