{image via NASA.gov}

The International Space Station (I.S.S.) has been a symbol of human cooperation and scientific experimentation for more than twenty years. Scientists and engineers from multiple Terran nations have worked together to prove Humanity does belong in space and can survive there. The ISS – a joint project involving five space agencies – has been in orbit since 1998 and has been continuously crewed since 2000. More than 3,000 research investigations have taken place in its microgravity laboratory.

Originally, the I.S. S. was only scheduled to operate until 2024. However, the partner nations sponsoring the I.S.S. have agreed to continue to support station operations until 2030. Specifically, Canada, the USA, Japan, and the participating countries of the European Space Agency (E.S.A.) will support station operations until 2030. Russia will support continued station operations until 2028.

“Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Decades ago, Neil Armstrong & crew left a plaque on the Moon that said: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” Since before we succeeded in sending human beings into space, NASA agreed that space should belong to everyone and be used peacefully for the benefit of all mankind. The nations partnering in the I.S.S.share that viewpoint.

Robyn Gatens, Director of the I.S.S. Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC, said, “The International Space Station is an incredible partnership with a common goal to advance science and exploration. Extending our time aboard this amazing platform allows us to reap the benefits of more than two decades of experiments and technology demonstrations, as well as continue to materialize even greater discovery to come.”

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was once asked if he really believed Man belonged in space. He replied, “Man belongs any damn place he can get to.” The I.S. S. is a necessary first step in returning to the Moon, and going on to Mars or the Asteroid Belt. If we are going to eventually colonize the moons of Jupiter, we must continue to maintain the I.S.S. This is only a temporary reprieve. 2030 is not very far away. But it’s a start.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.