The first proposal for
a manned station occurred in 1869, when an American novelist told
the story of how a "Brick Moon" came to orbit Earth to help ships
navigate at sea. In 1923, Romanian Hermann Oberth was the first
to use the term "space station" to describe a wheel-like facility
that would serve as the jumping off place for human journeys to
the moon and Mars. In 1952, Dr. Werner von Braun published his concept
of a space station in Collier's magazine. He envisioned a space
station that would have a diameter of 250 feet, orbit more than
1,000 miles above the Earth, and spin to provide artificial gravity
through centrifugal force.
The Soviet Union launched
the world's first space station, Salyut 1, in 1971 - a decade after
launching the first human into space. The United States sent its
first space station, the larger Skylab, into orbit in 1973 and it
hosted three crews before it was abandoned in 1974. Russia continued
to focus on long-duration space missions and in 1986 launched the
first modules of the Mir space station.
In 1998, the
first two modules of the International Space Station were launched
and joined together in orbit. Other modules soon followed and the
first crew arrived in 2000.
from left to right: The Zarya Control Module prior to the docking
of Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-88; Zarya is attached
to the Unity Node; the Zvezda Service Module as seen during STS-106;
during STS-92, the Z1 Truss was attached to the station; the station's
solar arrays were installed on STS-97; the U.S. Destiny Laboratory
was installed on mission STS-98.
about NASA history at http://history.nasa.gov/.
To view the archive of Space Station Science Status Reports, please
go to the Web site http://scipoc.msfc.nasa.gov/statuschron.html.