15 Years of Station Told in 15 Gifs
1. The International Space Station was assembled in space
From 1998 to 2011, five different space agencies representing 15 countries assembled the International Space Station, the largest structure ever built in space. Today humans are still living and work in the orbital laboratory. November 2, 2015 marks the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence onboard.
2. The Expedition 1 crew arrives
Expedition 1 Commander William Shepherd fist pumps and celebrates with his cosmonaut crewmates Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko as they appear on camera for the first time on November 2, 2000.
3. September 11, 2001
Expedition 3 Commander Frank Culbertson was the only American living off the planet on September 11, 2001. He captured his view of the fateful day from the space station.
The space station offers a unique vantage for observing Earth. Station crews can observe and collect camera images of events as they unfold which can play an important role in helping emergency responders know what areas are most in need during natural disasters.
4. The robotic arm builds the station piece by piece
The Japanese Experiment Module, or Kibo, is installed to the space station on June 3, 2008. Kibo means “hope” in Japanese, and it is the largest single space station module.
5. First 6-person crew
The first 6 person crew on the space station gathers for a press conference in May 29, 2009. Because it was comprised of astronauts from NASA, CSA, ESA, JAXA, and Russia, this was the first and only time all international partners were represented on the space station at the same time.
6. Commercial industry visits station
The space station’s robotic arm captures the SpaceX Dragon during its demonstration flight on May 25, 2012, making it the first commercial vehicle ever to dock with the space station.
7. Olympic Torch goes on a spacewalk
Russian Cosmonauts Sergey Ryanzanskiy and Oleg Kotov bring the Olympic torch outside the space station during a spacewalk on November 9, 2013. The torch traveled to the station as part of the Olympic torch relay ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
8. Testing fire in space
Astronaut Reid Weisman captured a floating sphere of fire observed during the Flex-2 experiment on space station on July 18, 2014. The findings may lead to better engines here on Earth.
Aurora are one of the astronauts' favorite views from the station. The spectacle is a result from energized particles in the atmosphere from steady solar winds or giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections.
Astronauts see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day as the station zooms around the Earth every 90 minutes.
11. Water Bubbles
In microgravity, liquids float freely in spherical form, but when in contact with other objects, surface tension dominates its shape.
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Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry “Butch” Wilmore capture the first GoPro footage of a spacewalk on February 25, 2015. To date, 189 spacewalks have been performed to build and maintain the space station.
Lightning is another stunning sight from 250 miles above. Astronaut Terry Virts described it as "a majestic performance that inspires awe and respect."
14. Milky Way
When passing over the "night" side of Earth, the Milky Way galaxy is subtly visible from the station.
15. U.S. astronauts eat first space-grown lettuce
Astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui taste lettuce that had been grown and harvested in space by NASA for the very first time on August 10, 2015.
NASA Johnson Space Center