(WYTV) – An anniversary went by the day before we voted and few noticed. On November 2, the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated its 20th anniversary of constantly having someone on board.
President Ronald Reagan first proposed a space station called Freedom in the 1980s. In 1993, the Democrats in the House of Representatives came within one vote of killing it.
Then President Bill Clinton invited the Russians and other countries to help build it and pay for part of it.
The first to come aboard the finished ISS and live there were NASA astronaut William Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev on November 2, 2000, orbiting 254 miles above Earth.
Those first three visitors started a tradition that continues to this day. Everyone on board the station sits — or floats — around a table three times a day for communal meals.
Since then, the station has been home to 241 people from 19 countries conducting 3,000 experiments.
Its astronauts and cosmonauts have spacewalked 231 times to build and maintain it.
The station is 357 feet in length — just one yard shy of a football field.
It’s the third brightest object in the night sky when Venus isn’t around.
This complicated piece of machinery is getting old, but should orbit for at least another 10 years.
Before then, SpaceX wants to make the ISS a tourist destination and a company called Axiom is going to build on more living space.