International Space Station: Twenty Years of Continuous Human Presence

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NASA/Rick Wetherington and Tony Gray NASA

Top: Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida comes alive as the Merlin engines ignite under the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon capsule to orbit. SpaceX built both the rocket and capsule for NASA’s first Commercial Resupply Services, or CRS-1, mission to the International Space Station. Above: In this image from December 2000, the Expedition 1 crew – the first to permanently inhabit the International Space Station – are about to eat a treat of fresh oranges onboard the Zvezda Service Module. Pictured, from the left, are Soyuz commander Yuri P. Gidzenko, station commander William M. Shepherd, and cosmonaut Sergei K. Krikalev.

NASA photo

FUNDAMENTAL SCIENCE Congress in 2005 designated the space station as the first U.S. National Laboratory in space, enabling research and development access to a broad range of commercial,