Next week, the International Space Station will hit a major milestone: 20 years of continuous crew service – two decades with people in space. That legacy began on Halloween 2000, when the first crew took off.
On October 31, 2000 to be exact, three men boarded the Soyuz spacecraft at Baikonur Space Airport in Kazakhstan for Adventure 1. Other crews traveled into space to assemble the station. space, but when the Expedition 1 crew arrived there on November 2, NASA astronauts William Shepherd and Russian astronauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko became the first official crew to live on the station. The universe. Although much of their 4-month mission has been spent preparing the space station for more of the future crew to live (somewhat) comfortably, they have also performed their first scientific experiment. on the ISS.
Predict the 20th anniversary of their missions, Shepherd, Kirkalev and Gidzenko talked to NASA about themr historical mission. Current Expedition 64 crew members Sergey Ryzhikov, Kate Rubins and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov also spoke to NASA, reflecting on the anniversary and 20 years of innovation since Expedition 1.
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It seems unlikely that the US and Russia will work together, after the two countries have spent decades in a space race. And yet, the American astronaut and the Russian astronaut have been working together seamlessly. In fact, NASA was determined to cooperate with Russia. “It turned out to be a great partnership,” said George Abbey, former director of the Johnson Space Center.
Cosmonaut Krikalev recounted that the crew had difficulty in training, but they did not have difficulty interacting with each other like friends. Instead, when overcoming difficulties in finding the right training materials and the right simulations (since no one has done this before), the crew members feel that they catch The head shares a single brain.
One day, Shepherd met with hardware developers and asked some questions. When Krikalev arrived at the meeting a little later, he repeated the same three to four questions. Ginger Kerrick, Russian training integration instructor for Expedition 1, said: “We were like, god, they’re sharing this one brain, these two people.
Learn from each other
As anyone who has tried to overcome the language barrier knows, trying to communicate with someone who does not speak your language, or does not speak well is very difficult. However, it’s important that the crew members not only be able to talk to each other, but really understand each other as well. Although the Shepherd initially expected all of them to speak English, as the US agreed with other partners that English would be the standard language on the space station, he quickly realized that it wouldn’t work. fruit.
“The key to making a space station work is to understand why the Russians approach the problem in a certain way,” he said. And the only method that we will really reach is if we can talk to all these people in Russia. “
In the end, the three men spoke a mixture of Russian and English and relied on very clear diagrams and drawings of key systems on the ISS, such as the air purification system. Many diagrams created to simplify communications are still used on space stations today.
However, not only learn to communicate, Expedition 1 crew must learn to think the same way. Going into training, the US is behind Russia in terms of theoretical knowledge system. “They are less dependent on diagrams and materials because the people who teach the classes are experts and know that information inside out,” Kerrick said. “While on the US side, we are all in a warm-up and so we are developing documentation, and we have no expertise.”
In the course of training for the mission, the US side learned how to spend long time in space from the Russians, who have lived and worked on their Mir space station since 1986. Although Russia has over America many decades of experience in low orbit. The Russian space station in Expedition 1 also has something to learn. “We learned that we can use more computer generated lessons or simulate simulations,” says Krikalev. “Before that computers weren’t available and we had to have all of these schematics in mind.”
Ultimately, the ISS team created a mixed training system. Since they didn’t know what information they would need, they had to be well prepared, Krikalev said. Now he realized that the space station’s crew could only learn what they needed, but at that point they needed to learn as much as they could.
Kerrick, who spent four years traveling with and coaching three crew members, remembers the launch date very well. It was a foggy day, she said, and as soon as the three men walked up the stairs of the launcher and shut the rear hatch, she began to breathe out. “I know they’ll be safe, but something inside of me says my family is about to have a missile. We are a family of four and three of them have gone into space, ”she said.
One of the Russian military officials present at the launch noticed her tension and put an arm around her to lead her through the crowd for a closer look. When parting with the crowd, he said in Russian “this is the crew’s mother.”
Of course, the crew was safe. Krikalev, who has been on Russia’s Mir space station before, felt familiar when they first entered the ISS. The biggest difference is that it’s clean, uninhabited.
The first thing the crew had to do, after passing through the hatch (which took minutes thanks to their aching arms and legs, Gidzenko said), was to look for connectors that would allow them to turn on the lights and set the setup The intercom allows them to talk to their team on Earth.
“We turned on the light. We had some hot water. We activated the toilet. And I remember Shep saying,” Now we can live. We have light, we have hot water and we have a toilet, “says Gidzenko.
Expedition 1’s primary mission during their four months on the space station is to prepare it for Expeditions 2, 3 and onwards. They have to make it viable, which comes with some challenges.
“I don’t think you can say we had an average day, at least not too much,” Shepherd said.
A problem came before they even started. Houston has many simulators for the space shuttle, which the crew spent hundreds of hours training. “And quite often, we wait for the computer to show up, because the sim is broken,” Shepherd said. It will take 30 to 40 minutes to restart your computer and everything should be up again.
About 10 days after they arrived at the space station, they encountered a great challenge (but beautifully handled). Their first cargo ship was intended to automatically dock, but when it arrived within 100 meters from the station, it started to wobble. Soon, too large oscillation began to be dangerous, Krikalev said. The team switched it to manual control and was able to carefully guide it to the dock.
Another struggle, arguing that operating an international space station is new, is communication. Shepherd says that early on, two control centers will sometimes send the crew out with conflicting commands. “Sometimes we get conflicting operations orders, what Houston said and then the control center in Moscow changed,” he said.
One day, he was so frustrated, he went to the radio that both control centers could hear and said, “Look, we are the International Space Station, you have to do it. coordinate a plan and hand it over to us. ” He said it was his happiest day in space.
Look to the future
Expedition 1 has prepared the ISS for the incoming crew and, in retrospect, the space station’s current crew plans to celebrate 20 years of continuous living with a meal like Shepherd, Krikalev and Gidzenko shared and looked away from the Earth.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins said: “I think the most fitting honor is for all three of us to take a beautiful foresight beyond the nebula, look at the beautiful Earth and appreciate the zero station. This wonderful time.
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov joked that they were also thinking about the space station’s first crew. Recently, they found a note from Expedition 1 crew about equipment installation. Over 20 years and 64 missions, the first crew member is still exposed to the ISS.
Of course, much has changed on the space station in the two decades since the crew first lived there. Now, the ISS is an extraordinary laboratory. Devices such as leading microscopes and atomic laboratories enable experiments in biology, physics, chemistry and other fields to help us learn more about long-time space flight, with the goal of traveling further into space.
Even though the space station has been worn for 20 years and needs replacement for things like the toilet that was recently brought into space, hard clothing and structures are being held on. According to Rubins, NASA has certified most of the space station’s hardware by 2028. Russia’s Mir Space Station is 15 years old, but with advanced technology and better knowledge of living in space, The astronauts on the ISS believe it will last for years and years to come.
In the near future, the space station’s capabilities will be tested when Crew-1 joins Expedition 64. In November, three NASA astronauts and one JAXA astronaut (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Edition) will join Rubins, Ryzhikov and Russian astronaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. This will mark not only the first time ISS has accommodated seven people, but also the first time astronauts have arrived at the space station via a commercial spacecraft, on the SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Twenty years after the first crew arrived, the ISS and the space agencies that ran it continue to make history.
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