ISS celebrates 15 years of continuous occupation


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The International Space Station today celebrates the anniversary of the arrival of its first crew and the completion of fifteen years of continuous human activity in space.

The previous record of continuous human occupation, on Mir, was ten years. Hopefully, the record now is permanent and ongoing, and will never have an end.

4 comments

  • pzatchok

    Sadly I am surprised it has operated this long.

    And this well.

    But we will not be truly”in space” permanently until they stop using over educated over trained astronauts to do the work a well trained construction worker and a well trained collage lab tech could do.

  • Edward

    Pzatchok wrote: “But we will not be truly”in space” permanently until they stop using over educated over trained astronauts to do the work a well trained construction worker and a well trained collage lab tech could do.”

    This is probably a long way off, because each person in space is required to perform multiple duties. The only way to get “specialization” in space is to have enough people there to allow each to have his own specialty that is almost his only task. Essentially, when we have someone whose task is solely janitorial/maintenance work, and no science, construction, administration, etc., then we probably will have reached the point that you consider as being truly in space.

    An alternate comparison would be submarine crews, who are well trained and educated for their specialized tasks and responsibilities, but also are their own janitors/maintenance crews.

    In the meantime, you are right. With such a small ISS crew, each astronaut has to be trained to perform multiple functions just as well as the specialists in each of those functions are trained. The range of sciences alone is from astronomy to biology, earth sciences, materials sciences, and zoology (what with all those little creatures they experiment upon). Each astronaut having a thorough knowledge of the workings of most of the on-board systems is necessary for such a small crew to repair or maintain any of them. The cost of each minute spent aboard the ISS means that on the job training is not an option. Prior over-training (a relatively low cost) is necessary.

    Indeed, in the story “The Martian,” it was the fictional astronaut’s over education and over training that kept him alive so long.

  • pzatchok

    I should not be surprised that it has worked and operated this long. I should just expect it.

    But considering its pretty much wholly US funded and operated I’m just as surprised that our congress and presidents have not shut it down.

  • Edward

    Most of the time I think that Congress and presidents of the United States take to heart the saying “the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.” It explains why things cost so much and why they continue to fund them — the higher price paid makes the suggestion that they are “manlier men” than the millionaires and billionaires that they like to talk down.

    They don’t seem to be willing to stop funding things unless they think their “toy” won’t work or will otherwise embarrass them.

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