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FIRST INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TURNS TWO



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC


Allard Beutel/Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington      October 31, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1726)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

RELEASE: 02-212

FIRST INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION TURNS TWO

     The "terrible twos" aren't so terrible for the 
International Space Station.

The world's first international orbital outpost celebrates 
the second anniversary of continuous residency and permanent 
human presence in space Saturday, Nov. 2. The anniversary 
marks an ambitious and virtually flawless year of expansion 
and research in space.

Already the largest, most sophisticated and powerful 
spacecraft ever built, when its second year of occupancy 
began in 2001, the station has grown by more than 56,000 
pounds in components added during the past 12 months. Over 
the last two years, the station has grown by more than 
200,000 pounds, and its internal volume has increased from 
that of an efficiency apartment to a three-bedroom house. 
This year, construction began on the station's backbone, a 
truss structure that eventually will support almost an acre 
of solar panels to provide more power for orbital research 
than ever before.

"The International Space Station was truly spectacular a year 
ago, but with each new assembly mission -- almost one every 
month -- it's further enhanced," said Bill Gerstenmaier, 
International Space Station Program Manager, NASA Johnson 
Space Center, Houston. "Our success in the past two years has 
been phenomenal. We are blazing a trail in space and on 
Earth, through research and international cooperation, which 
can improve lives and expand exploration. We have many 
challenges ahead, but this team's continued hard work and 
dedication will build a final facility that eclipses even 
today's station," he said.

By the end of 2002, the station's truss will stretch almost 
133 feet. When completed in 2004, the truss will stretch 356 
feet; longer than a football field. This year has seen 
assembly of the first "space railroad," including a mobile 
base on the truss for the station's Canadian robotic arm and 
a "hand car" for spacewalkers.

As the station expands, so does its research capability. 
Experiments aboard the complex have attained more than 90,000 
hours of operating time. Sixty-five U.S. investigations have 
been launched as well as numerous international studies.

An example of Station-based research recently involved the 
first-ever soybean crop grown in space. After spending nearly 
100 days aboard the Station and returning on a visiting Space 
Shuttle, the seeds are undergoing several months of chemical 
and biological tests on Earth to reveal whether their growth 
in a low-gravity environment changed their chemical 
composition. 

Soybeans are a leading source of protein in the human diet 
and are used in many products, from oil to crayons. Space 
Station research, in conjunction with commercial companies, 
in this area could lead to producing crops that support long-
term human presence in space and possibly pave the way for 
improving crops grown on Earth.

In the past 12 months, 33 people have visited or lived aboard 
the orbiting complex. A total of 112 visitors have been 
aboard the station since it was launched, including men and 
women from six nations. The first crewmembers docked with the 
Station to begin its permanent occupancy on November 2, 2000. 
Five three-person crews have lived aboard for durations 
ranging from four to more than six months. In its second year 
of occupancy, astronauts and cosmonauts have conducted 16 
spacewalks for maintenance and assembly of the Station.

More information about the Station is available on the 
Internet at:

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov

-end-


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