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ISS MARKS FIVE YEARS IN ORBIT



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington           November 19, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1234)

Kylie Moritz
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)


INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION MARKS FIVE YEARS IN ORBIT

     The International Space Station reaches the historic five 
years in space milestone on November 20, 2003. The unique 
orbiting laboratory complex has grown from a lone, uninhabited 
module into a permanently staffed, house-sized research 
facility.

The Station remains the largest and most complex international 
space research project in history. The Station will eventually 
triple scientific capacity with components awaiting the Space 
Shuttle's return to flight.

The first Space Station element, the Russian Zarya control 
module, was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Nov. 20, 1998. 
Two weeks later, the Space Shuttle Endeavour delivered the 
second element, the U.S. connecting module called Unity. The 
challenges, triumphs and tragedy shared by the international 
partnership since then have solidified cooperation on the 
Station among the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and 
Europe.

"Together with our international partners we have learned how 
to build, operate and maintain a very complex spacecraft, 
through the good times and the bad," said Bill Gerstenmaier, 
NASA Space Station Program Manager. "With this experience to 
guide us, we look forward to the future, with a vast expansion 
of the Station on the horizon."

At five years old, the Station is still growing. More than 80 
tons of equipment and hardware are in the Space Station 
Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. 
being prepared for launch.

The Space Station has orbited the Earth more than 29,000 
times. It is visible in the night sky as it flies more than 
210 miles overhead. The living and working area inside the 
Station has a volume of about 15,000 cubic feet, larger than a 
three-bedroom house.

The orbiting complex has been inhabited since Nov. 2, 2000. 
Eight successive crews, 22 people, have staffed the Station. 
Residents have conducted research in bioastronautics, physical 
sciences, fundamental space biology, space product development 
and space flight disciplines. In the U.S. Destiny Lab alone, 
astronauts have worked on over 70 different science 
experiments.

Hundreds of people on Earth support Station operations from 
the Station Mission Control Center at NASA's Johnson Space 
Center in Houston. Round-the-clock science operations are 
handled by the Payload Operations Center team at NASA's 
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Hundreds of 
other scientists and engineers perform important jobs, such as 
training Station crews and building new hardware that will 
become part of the orbiting laboratory.

Additional research facilities are being readied for launch on 
future Shuttle missions. They will enhance Destiny's 
capabilities in the areas of fundamental space biology; glass 
and porous ceramics materials processing research; human 
physiology research; combustion research; research on the 
behavior of fluids; Earth observations; and experiment 
refrigerator/freezer conditioned sample storage.

Also awaiting launch at KSC are solar arrays and support 
structures that will triple the sunlight-gathering, solar cell 
area, thereby increasing the power dedicated to research by 84 
percent.

The Node 2 module that will serve as a connector between the 
U.S., European and Japanese research labs is at KSC undergoing 
pre-launch processing. The Kibo Japanese Experiment Module, 
including a pressurized lab already at KSC, will also be added 
to the Station. The European Columbus Laboratory, under 
construction in Bremen, Germany, will expand the Station's 
volume to almost that of a five-bedroom house.

For information about NASA, human spaceflight, astronauts, and 
the International Space Station on the Internet, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov

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