International Space Station: Twenty Years of Continuous Human Presence

In his 1984 State of the Union speech, President Ronald Reagan stated: “I am directing NASA to develop a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade. … NASA will invite other countries to participate so we can strengthen peace, build prosperity, and expand freedom for all who share our goals.”

Today, the International Space Station is a consortium of the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, and the 12-member nations of the European Space Agency.

Inside this edition you will find a narrative describing the 20 years of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station in low-Earth orbit as a feat of engineering and technology (people spacewalking to build and maintain the structure housing humans), cooperation (working with international partners and residents of different nationalities living aboard ISS), fortitude and spirit (the people who undertake missions to live and work on the ISS and the people who support them from the ground). Features detail what it is like to live and work in space aboard the ISS; the scientific achievements aboard the station; the many “firsts” that have taken place aboard the station, from scientific breakthroughs to more lighthearted achievements such as the first music video recorded in space, the first “jam session,” the first orbital marathon, and more.