At 15 the international space station get a makeover

3 Nov

It was 15 years ago today, November 2, that NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko step foot on the ISS (International Space Station). Not long after those three took up residence as they began expansions of the ISS. Over the next decade plus there have been several more expansions cared out by dozens of crew members that have spent time on the ISS. Now, the ISS is roughly the size of a football field when its solar arrays are extended and has living space for 6 crew members at a time.

“When I first saw the station I thought, ‘Oh my word, it’s huge.’ It looked so majestic,” astronaut Doug Wheelock, who has visited the station twice and has spent months living there, told ABC News. “The outside is kind of a stark metallic. It’s like a castle in the sky.”

Back when when those men first occupied the ISS the NASA astronauts where being transported in the Space Shuttle. In 2011 the last of the Space Shuttles was retired and since then our astronauts have ridden on the Russian Soyuz capsule. In the next two years that is going to change when both Boeing and SpaceX will making the first test flights of their Space Taxis that will end the United States dependency on the Soyuz capsule. In preparation for the first flight of those taxis the crew on the ISS will need to remodel the docking stations on the ISS.

The remodeling project was set to start earlier this year when one of the adapters for the docking station was made part of a SpaceX supply mission in June. Sadly, the mission that adapter was on ended in tragedy when the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 exploded not long after it was launched. The loss of the adapter was a setback to NASA but they are still optimistic the remodeling will be done on time.

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