Looking out of a plane window, the Earth can look amazing, but if you look from farther, beyond the atmosphere, it can be extraordinary. The International Space Station, or ISS, is a lab like no other. It hovers above the Earth, in space, orbiting around our planet sixteen times per day. For the people floating weightless inside, they see sixteen sunrises and sunsets, not to mention being able to peer down on the Earth. The ISS is a place with an interesting beginning, great accomplishments, and a very different routine than ours on Earth.
The International Space Station began and was built in a long series of events. The idea began on the twenty-fifth of January,1984, also known as President Ronald Reagan's State of the Union address. He dictated to the NASA workers to begin building a space station in Earth's orbit within the next ten years. NASA got to work right away, but it wasn't until November 20,1998 that the first piece was sent into space. The first piece was a Russian proton called Zarya and marked the material beginning of the space station. The International Space Station was no longer just an idea and some plans, it was a physical. Another important step, one that many consider to be the completion of the Space Station, is the first crew being sent. November 2,2000, Bill Shepard, Yuri Gidzenko, and Sergei Kirkalev became the first humans to reside on the space station. Even though this can be thought of as the end of the beginning of the ISS, it is still be improved and added to, all these years later.
Since the beginning of the International Space Station, many important milestones and goals have been made and met. NASA has many goals they wish to accomplish with the use of the space station and its crew. Obviously, they want to learn as much about space as possible. Mainly, they focus on human health and exploration, technology testing for future exploration, basic life and physical sciences in space, and Earth and space sciences. Although they have these long-term goals set, they have made many accomplishments. One that really stands out is the day the International Space Station became a legal laboratory. In the 2000s (exact date unknown), the ISS was recognized as a national laboratory, the first in space. Another milestone for workers at NASA and the ISS was the tenth anniversary of human occupation in 2010. Two hundred and two people had circulated throughout the ISS nonstop since the first crew in 2000. This was important because it marked ten years of success and studies in space.
Each day, more and more goals and milestones are being reached. Today, the workers of the International Space Station, from all different countries, work together and relax together. All the astronauts, despite being from different places around the world, do many similar tasks. The astronauts conduct experiments, clean and repair equipment and sometimes do space walks outside the station. Also, they must exercise for two hours each day. This takes up most of their day on the ISS, but they have fun when they can. Even though they are in space, they still do many of the same activities we do on Earth, with some bonuses. Astronauts read books, watch television and movies, message their family and friends on Earth, listen to music, play on their laptops, among other hobbies. Another fun thing they do is float around, playing space games and doing the classic drink-water-as-it-floats-around trick. These tasks are done by, but not limited to: Terry Virts, of the United States, Butch Wilmore, of the United States, and Samantha Cristoforetti, of Italy right now. These three people are some of the people on the International Space Station right now. They keep in touch with the humans of Earth via text, Twitter, Instagram, FaceTime, and Facebook.
The Earth is an amazing place to look at and study, especially if you are doing it as an outsider to your own home planet. The ISS is a great place to learn and study the Earth, and it's a great place to learn about and study from Earth. Us who are still tethered by gravity can learn about the past, beginning and building of the ISS. We can revel in the milestones and important events of the ISS, and daydream about their goals. We can fantasize about the daily routine, activities and work, of the astronauts. The International Space Station is a place everyone should all be proud we are a part of, whether it's the creation, milestones, goals, or the witnessing and documentation of the daily activities of the first lab in space.