International Space Station Nears Completion on 10th Anniversary
NASA completed four space shuttle missions in 2008 to deliver modules and hardware to the International Space Station, allowing it to grow in size, volume and science capability. The flights also prepared the station to house six crew members for long-duration missions and to expand scientific exploration. The activation in 2008 of the European Space Agency's Columbus module and Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, as well as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory, marked the beginning of new human spaceflight control centers in Germany, France and Japan that are working with existing control centers in the U.S., Russia and Canada. Nov. 20 was the 10th anniversary of the launch of Zarya, a Russian control module that was the station's first component. In the decade since Zarya arrived in orbit, the station has grown to become the largest spacecraft ever built. Its mass has expanded to more than 313 tons, and its interior volume is more than 25,000 cubic feet, comparable to the size of a five-bedroom house. The station now hosts 19 research facilities, including nine sponsored by NASA, eight by European Space Agency and two by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
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