International Space Station (ISS)
Compiled by Yuichi Kamimura



We have had a dream to go to outer space and some SF novelists have written about outer space. Even if people had the dream, they actually couldn’t go. However, their dream came true in 1961 by Yurii Gagarin, the astronaut of the USSR. In addition, human beings reached the moon in 1969 by Apollo 11, America’s first moon landing.
And finally, we could stay in outer space for a long time.

An article on Apollo 11’s first moon landing


What is the International Space Station?

ISS (International Space Station) is literally being built by a consortium of 16 countries, including the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Brazil and some European countries. It is not planed to be finished until 2010. It consists of living quarters, rooms for experiments, solar panels and a remote manipulator. Until now about 40 trips of US Space Shuttles and Russian Soyuz have been launched in order to carry building materials. And these materials have been assembled by remote manipulator and EVA (Extravehicular Activity), In the International Space Station, many experiments and various research have been carried out under unique circumstance such as microgravity and high vacuum, plus within space radiation and infinite solar energy. Furthermore, earth and astronomical observations continue.


Outlines of ISS

16 countries participating ISS

Examples of the space station benefits


The history of the International Space Station

A program about an international space station had been discussed in NASA since 1982. The International Space Station program officially started with President Reagan’s State of the Union address in 1984 that he directed NASA to build an international space station within a decade. He asked Heads of States to participate in the program at an international conference at the London summit. In response, Japan, Europe and Canada announced their participation in the program in 1985. IGA (Intergovernmental Agreement) was concluded between these states and MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was concluded between NASA and each state’s space agency in 1988. However, the first plan was reexamined because of financial problems and then it was reduced in size. In 1993 Russia decided to participate. And the launches started from 1998.

Excerpts of President Reagan's State of the Union Address, 25 January 1984.
The history of ISS

The International Space Station’s future

Unfortunately, the International Space Station program has become a financial burden for the member countries. Especially it is serious problem for NASA. NASA made a decision not to supply an inhabitation module and CRV (Crew Return Vehicle). Because of this, Russia had to supply another Soyuz in place of CRV and the crews had to stay within a narrow living space. Since Colombia’s disaster, NASA has never launched a Space Shuttle and so ISS’s schedule was delayed. However, NASA announced that Space Shuttle will again be launched in March 2005 or later. Most state’s space agencies try hard to get support from private sectors in return for using room for their corporate experiments.
I feel there is great benefit in space exploration but people need to understand both the cost and the potential benefit because in the past too much has been spent on these programs. In order to maintain such programs cost cutting measures need to be intensified.

An article on NASA cutbacks
Articles on commercial uses


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