NASA’s International Space Station Program Wins Aviation Week Laureate Award
The International Space Station Program has received the 2010 Aviation Week Space Laureate Award. This year’s winners were recognized for extraordinary accomplishments in the aerospace and defense industries.
In announcing the Space Laureate award, Aviation Week noted that the space station, currently orbiting 220 miles above the Earth with a multicultural crew of three on board, is “essentially complete after 25 years of political upheavals, redesigns, technical problems and the loss of the space shuttle Columbia.
“In 2009, the final major pressurized modules were attached to the orbiting laboratory, and its life support and other systems upgraded to support a full-time crew as large as six,” the announcement continued. “The five partner agencies are working to win funding to operate the station until 2020, and engineers already are recertifying its structure until 2028. It has become the model for international cooperation on future human exploration deeper into the Solar System.”
Representing the five space agencies in the partnership – and the thousands of men and women who have built the space station – were partner program managers Michael Suffredini, NASA; Pierre Jean, Canadian Space Agency; Bernardo Patti, European Space Agency; Yoshiyuki Hasegawa, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Alexey Krasnov, Roscosmos.
“We are honored to accept this award,” Suffredini said. “The International Space Station is an unbelievable tribute to teamwork and cooperation. We want to thank not only the space station team – including our international partners and contractors -- but also the entire shuttle and mission support teams, which are making assembly and continued operations possible.”
The International Space Station is a joint project of five space agencies and 15 countries that is nearing completion and will mark the 10th anniversary of a continuous human presence in orbit later this year. The largest and most complicated spacecraft ever built, the space station is an international, technological and political achievement that represents the latest step in humankind’s quest to explore and live in space.
Upon completion of assembly later this year, the station’s crew and its U.S., European, Japanese and Russian laboratory facilities will expand the pace of space-based research to unprecedented levels. Nearly 150 experiments are currently under way on the station, and more than 400 experiments have been conducted since research began nine years ago. These experiments already are leading to advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer cells and the development of more capable engines and materials for use on Earth and in space.
The international partner agencies provide crew members, control centers and support teams that train and provide uninterrupted support for systems operations and coordinate the on-orbit research. The station has a mass of almost 800,000 pounds and a habitable volume of more than 12,000 cubic feet – approximately the size of a five-bedroom home, and uses state-of-the-art systems to generate solar electricity, recycle nearly 85 percent of its water and generate much of its own oxygen supply. Nearly 190 humans have visited the space station, which is now supporting its 23rd resident crew.
Boeing, prime contractor, responsible for design, development, construction and integration of the ISS, recently handed over the “keys” to the station’s U.S. On-Orbit Segment to NASA at the conclusion of an Acceptance Review Board that verified the delivery, assembly, integration and activation of all hardware and software required by contract.
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