NASA astronaut William Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev entered the International Space Station on November 2, 2000 and became the first of many people who lived in this orbital laboratory.
After the first 136-day stay of the Expedition 1, the space station has been used as a center for continuous human activity, scientific research and a testing ground for space exploration for 20 years. It accommodated 243 astronauts from 19 countries, previously uniting 15 states in cooperation on its creation.
Crews have conducted more than 227 spacewalks to develop and maintain the space station, including the first spacewalk in 2019 exclusively by NASA women astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.
– When the Expedition 1 arrived, the space station was new, very clean and much emptier than it is now, Krikalev said at a press conference on the anniversary.
He says they never had an ordinary day during their stay. Each day presented a new range of challenges, and they worked through endless checklists to set up and prepare the space station for future crews. But they started a tradition that has been going on for 20 years when they sit down at the table together to have a meal three times a day.
And this tradition of having meals has helped the expedition crews get closer together when their football field-size home orbits the Earth at 28 000 kilometers per hour, and this is how the current team celebrates the anniversary.
– It is an incredible honor for us to be here on the day that marks the 20th anniversary. We all feel very lucky. We will have a simple dinner party. On the ISS, we really enjoy getting together for a meal. And all three of us will get a beautiful view from the dome to Earth and space, Kathleen Rubins said during a press conference from the space station on Friday.
The dome is a space station observatory with seven windows, where crew members can watch the 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets that the space station experiences every day.
Rubins, along with Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov, arrived at the station on October 14. This is the second expedition of Rubins and Ryzhikov.
– Since the anniversary fell on Monday, we celebrate it with hard work, Kud-Sverchkov said. -And we will remember those who flew here over 20 years, and all 63 expeditions that were here before us.