Space milestones

Earlier this week, the International Space Station marked 10 years of continuous human habitation, beating out Mir’s (a Russian space station) record.

ISS

According to a blog post from The Voice of Russia, “since the 2nd of November 2000, over 190 people have visited the largest manned-space station that has embraced a group of researchers from 16 countries.”

The event wasn’t met with frustration or anger on Russia’s part. Rather, the cosmonauts celebrated along with the Americans on board the ISS.

Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri, Oleg Skripochki and American astronaut Scott Kelly gathered (oddly enough in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft) to have a celebratory dinner together.

“Their menu was quite simple, tea, coffee, chicken in white sauce, beef with vegetables and buckwheat. Among those who congratulated the crew is Sergei Krikalev who was the first to arrive at the station ten years ago,” the blog post stated.

This all just goes to show how two once bitter space rivals are now working in cooperation toward a higher goal. Still taking from the Voice of Russia post, Russia is set to launch a multi-purpose laboratory to dock with the ISS in 2012 and suggested creating an ISS assembly shop, to assist in long distance missions.

Even more recently, three American astronauts filled out their absentee ballots — from space. It’s a practice dating back to 1997, when astronaut David Wolf voted from the Mir space station.

“I voted on Sunday through an electronic e-mail system,” Navy Capt. Scott Kelly said in a Fox News story. “I think Texas actually passed a law where we could vote from space, and it felt like an honor and privilege to exercise our rights as U.S. citizens from the International Space Station.”

Unfortunately, Mir is no longer with us. The station was taken offline in March of 2001, producing quite the light show throughout Fiji’s skyline.

It must have been a sad time for Sergei Krikalev, who has spent more time in space than anyone else — most of his time was on board of Mir. Having spent 803 days in orbit, throughout the late ’80s and early ’90s, his home country, the Soviet Union, actually collapsed.