Happy 15th Birthday to the International Space Station!
On November 20th, 1998, the Russian Space Agency launched Zarya (meaning 'sunrise') into low-Earth orbit. This 12.6-metre-long spacecraft was the very first module of the International Space Station, acting as the station's base for the first two years as it was built.
Now, 15 years and 115 spaceflights later, the station is very different — longer and wider than an American football field, when you count all the solar panels and modules together, and larger than a six-bedroom house. All together, the station has cost somewhere around $150 billion, supposedly making it the most expensive thing ever built. Putting the station together and keeping it running has involved the cooperation of five space agencies and 16 different nations, over a period of 15 years, and currently over 200 people from 15 different countries around the world have visited the station.