|From top to bottom are the modules, Unity, Zarya, Zvedza and the Progress M1-3 supply spacecraft. As seen from the departing STS- 106 Space Shuttle Atlantis, the crew of which prepared the station of permanent occupation.
15 years ago today, humans took the first step towards living and working in space with the launch of Zarya in 1998. The first International Space Station (ISS) module and the Russian word for sunrise, the module would grow to become the space research and exploration powerhouse that it is today with humans living there for 12 years. The size of a football field, with a three laboratories, a gymnasium and observatory on board, the sheer magnificence of the ISS is a beautiful product of international cooperation between nations on Earth and in space working and living together peacefully.
One of my favourite astronauts Nicole Stott recently stated that her son has never known a time without humans living in space. Or even a time when the benefits of space exploration haven’t had an impact on his life down here on Earth. The thought that for over 10 years, we can look up at the sky and see fellow humans orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes is a pretty amazing one.
With the launch of Zarya 15 years ago today, a new dawn began.