The International Space Station (ISS) is an unprecedented achievement in global human endeavors to plan, build, operate, and utilize a research platform in space. For twenty years, astronauts have been continuously living and working onboard the ISS. Since its launch in 1998 it has been a symbol of international partnership involving the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada, and the participating countries of the European Space Agency.
In the past two decades, the ISS has supported over 3,000 research investigations. These investigations have resulted in numerous scientific breakthroughs and discoveries that could not have been made anywhere else. Most recently, NASA highlighted including fundamental disease research as well as understanding how our bodies change in microgravity.
The International Space Station is a stepping stone for NASA’s Artemis program that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. In order to prepare for American astronauts to return to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, long-duration microgravity research is a key element. This type of research is especially important not only for humans but also for testing the technology that will allow humans to work on and around the Moon. In the future, Gateway will be that next step for long term duration microgravity experiments. The Gateway will serve as an outpost orbiting the Moon for sustainable, long-term human presence to the lunar surface as well as staging point for deep space exploration.
The State Department congratulates the global community for their contribution and discoveries made thus far on the International Space Station.
Read more about the Artemis Program and the recently signed Artemis Accords here.
About the Author: Carolyn Pace serves as a Program Analyst for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Science and Advanced Technology at the U.S. Department of State.