The International Space Station was originally conceived as our base camp to the stars – the first step in a long journey of human civilisation exploring new planets, asteroids, and galaxies, and perhaps even helping us to meet other forms of life in the universe along the way. It is a place where fifteen different nations work together, observing how the human body is affected under unique and challenging conditions, and discovering ways to combat the negative effects, whilst also doing ground-breaking scientific experiments. For example, astronauts are now successfully growing edible flowers in space. As Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the scientist who developed the theory of space flight, once stated: “A planet is the cradle of mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.”
But space is a dangerous place. Not only do you have to account for the vacuum of space, extreme temperature changes as the station moves around the earth, in and out of its shadow, and radiation, but you also have to get there and back, through the protective bubble of earth’s atmosphere. Only recently did the crew aboard the International Space Station commemorate the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Columbia and Challenger, who sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of furthering mankind.
We have collected together a brief history of this incredible feat in human engineering, politics, and bravery to create the below infographic.