November 20, 2013
The International Space Station celebrates its birthday today, 15 years after the first module was launched in 1998.
The Space Station is the largest cooperative project ever carried out in science, involving NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
On 20 November 1998 a Russian Proton rocket lifted off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan carrying Zarya, the Station’s first component. Three weeks later, on 4 December, the Space Shuttle delivered Unity, the Station’s second module, which was attached to Zarya on 6 December.
The first crew to live on the Station, Expedition 1, arrived on 2 November 2000. Since then, the Station has been continuously occupied for 13 years, the longest continuous human presence in space and the only permanent weightless laboratory.