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On Nov. 28, 1983, space shuttle Columbia took to the skies for its sixth trip into space on the first dedicated science mission using the Spacelab module provided by the European Space Agency (ESA). The longest shuttle mission at the time also included many other firsts. Aboard Columbia to conduct dozens of science experiments, the first six-person crew of Commander John W. Young, making his record-breaking sixth spaceflight, Pilot Brewster H. Shaw, Mission Specialists Owen K. Garriott and Robert A.R. Parker, and the first two payload specialists, American Byron K. Lichtenberg and German Ulf Merbold representing ESA, the first non-American to fly on a U.S. space mission. During the 10-day Spacelab 1 flight, the international team of astronauts conducted 72 experiments in a wide variety of science disciplines.
Left: The STS-9 crew patch. Middle: Official photo of the STS-9 crew of Owen K. Garriott, seated left, Brewster H. Shaw, John W. Young, and Robert A.R. Parker; Byron K. Lichtenberg, standing left, and Ulf Merbold of West Germany representing the European Space Agency. Right: The payload patch for Spacelab 1.
In August 1973, NASA and the European Space Research Organization, the forerunner of today’s ESA, agreed on a cooperative plan to build a reusable laboratory called Spacelab to fly in the space shuttle’s cargo bay. In exchange for ESA building the pressurized modules and unpressurized pallets, NASA provided flight opportunities for European astronauts. In December 1977, ESA named physicist Merbold of the Max Planck Institute in West Germany, physicist Wubbo Ockels of The Netherlands, and astrophysicist Claude Nicollier of Switzerland as payload specialist candidates for the first Spacelab mission. In September 1982, ESA selected Merbold as the prime crew member to fly the mission and Ockels as his backup. Nicollier had in the meantime joined NASA’s astronaut class of 1980 as a mission specialist candidate. In 1978, NASA selected biomedical engineer Lichtenberg of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as its payload specialist with physicist Michael L. Lampton of CalTech as his backup. In April 1982, NASA assigned the orbiter crew of Young, Shaw, Garriott, and Parker. As commander of STS-9, Young made a record-breaking sixth flight into space. The mission’s pilot Shaw, an astronaut from the 1978 class, made his first trip into space. The two mission specialists had a long history with NASA – Garriott, selected as an astronaut in 1965, completed a 59-day stay aboard the Skylab space station in 1973, and Parker, selected in 1967, made his first spaceflight after a 16-year wait. Although the crew included only two veterans, it had the most previous spaceflight experience of any crew up to that time – 84 days between Young’s and Garriott’s earlier missions.
Left: Arrival of the Spacelab 1 long module at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Middle: Workers place the Spacelab module and pallet into Columbia’s payload bay in KSC’s Orbiter Processing Facility. Right: The Spacelab pallet, top, pressurized long module, and tunnel in Columbia’s payload bay.
The pressurized module for the first Spacelab mission arrived at KSC on Dec. 11, 1981, from its manufacturing facility in Bremen, West Germany. Additional components arrived throughout 1982 as workers in KSC’s Operations and Checkout Building integrated the payload racks into the module. The ninth space shuttle mission saw the return of the orbiter Columbia to space, having flown the first five flights of the program. Since it arrived back at KSC after STS-5 on Nov. 22, 1982, engineers in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) modified Columbia to prepare it for the first Spacelab mission. The completed payload, including the pressurized module, the external pallet, and the transfer tunnel, rolled over to the OPF, where workers installed it into Columbia’s payload bay on Aug. 16, 1983.
Left: In the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, workers lift space shuttle Columbia to mate it with its external tank (ET) and solid rocket boosters (SRBs) for the first time. Middle: Space shuttle Columbia’s first trip from the VAB to Launch Pad 39A. Right: In the VAB, workers have disassembled the stack and prepare to reposition the ET with its SRBs.
Rollover of Columbia to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) took place on Sept. 24, where workers mated it with an external tank (ET) and two solid rocket boosters (SRBs). Following integrated testing, the stack rolled out to Launch Pad 39A four days later for a planned Oct. 29 liftoff. However, on Oct. 14, managers called off that initial launch attempt after discovering that the engine nozzle of the left hand SRB contained the same material that nearly caused a burn through during STS-8. The replacement of the nozzle required a rollback to the VAB. Taking place on Oct. 17, it marked the first rollback of a flight vehicle in the shuttle’s history. Workers in the VAB demated the vehicle and destacked the left hand SRB to replace its nozzle. Columbia temporarily returned to the OPF on Oct. 19, where workers replaced its fuel cells using three borrowed from space shuttle Discovery and also replaced its waste collection system. Columbia returned to the VAB on Nov. 3 for remating with its ET and SRBs and rolled back out to the launch pad on Nov. 8.
Left: The STS-9 crew during their preflight press conference at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Middle: On launch day at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-9 astronauts leave crew quarters to board the Astrovan for the ride to Launch Pad 39A. Right: In the VIP stands to watch the STS-9 launch, Steven Spielberg, left, and George Lucas.
Liftoff of space shuttle Columbia on STS-9 carrying the first Spacelab science module.
Ground track of STS-9’s orbit, inclined 57 degrees to the equator, passing over 80 percent of the world’s land masses.
On Nov. 28, 1983, Columbia thundered off KSC’s Launch Pad 39A to begin the STS-9 mission. The shuttle entered an orbit inclined 57 degrees to the equator, the highest inclination U.S. spaceflight at the time, allowing the astronauts to observe about 80 percent of the Earth’s landmasses. Mounted inside Columbia’s payload bay, the first Spacelab 18-foot long module provided a shirt-sleeve environment for the astronauts to conduct scientific experiments in a variety of disciplines. During the Spacelab 1 mission, the STS-9 crew carried out 72 experiments in atmospheric and plasma physics, astronomy, solar physics, materials sciences, technology, astrobiology, and Earth observations. For the first time in spaceflight history, the crew divided into two teams working opposite 12-hour shifts, allowing science to be conducted 24 hours a day. The Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, launched the previous April during the STS-6 mission, and now fully operational, enabled transmission of television and significant amounts of science data to the Payload Operations Control Center, located in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Left: View of the Spacelab module in the shuttle’s payload bay. Middle: Several STS-9 crew members struggle to open the hatch to the transfer tunnel. Right: Owen K. Garriott, left, Ulf Merbold, and Byron K. Lichtenberg enter the Spacelab for the first time to begin activating the module.
Upon reaching orbit, the crew opened the payload bay doors and deployed the shuttle’s radiators. Shortly after, following a few tense minutes during which the astronauts struggled with a balky hatch, they opened it, translated down the transfer tunnel, and entered Spacelab for the first time. Garriott, Lichtenberg, and Merbold activated the module and turned on the first experiments. For the next nine days, the Red Team of Young, Parker, and Merbold, and the Blue Team of Shaw, Garriott, and Lichtenberg performed flawlessly to carry out the experiments. Young and Shaw managed the shuttle’s systems while the mission and payload specialists conducted the bulk of the research. With ample consumables available, Mission Control granted them an extra day in space to complete additional science. One afternoon, the astronauts chatted with U.S. President Ronald W. Reagan in the White House and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, attending the European Community Summit in Athens, Greece. The two leaders praised the astronauts for their scientific work and the cooperation between the two countries that enabled the flight to take place.
Left: Robert A.R. Parker, left, Byron K. Lichtenberg, Owen K. Garriott, and Ulf Merbold at work inside the Spacelab module. Middle: Garriott preparing to draw a blood sample from Lichtenberg for one of the life sciences experiments. Right: Garriott, front, and Lichtenberg at work in the Spacelab module.
Left: The rotating dome experiment to study visual vestibular interactions. Middle: Owen K. Garriott prepares to place blood samples in a passive freezer. Right: Inflight photograph of the STS-9 crew.
A selection of the STS-9 crew Earth observation photographs. Left: The Manicougan impact crater in Quebec, Canada, with the shuttle’s tail visible at upper right. Middle: Hong Kong. Right: Cape Campbell, New Zealand.
On Dec. 8, their last day in space, the crew finished the experiments, closed up the Spacelab module, and strapped themselves into their seats to prepare for their return to Earth. Five hours before the scheduled landing, during thruster firings one of Columbia’s five General Purpose Computers (GPC) failed, followed six minutes later by a second GPC. Mission Control decided to delay the landing until the crew could fix the problem. Young and Shaw brought the second GPC back up but had no luck with the first. Meanwhile, one of Columbia’s Inertial Measurement Units, used for navigation, failed. Finally, after eight hours of troubleshooting, the astronauts fired the shuttle’s Orbital Maneuvering System engines to begin the descent from orbit. Young piloted Columbia to a smooth landing on a lakebed runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California’s Mojave Desert, completing 166 orbits around the Earth in 10 days, 6 hours, and 47 minutes, at the time the longest shuttle flight. Shortly before landing, a hydrazine leak caused two of the orbiter’s three Auxiliary Power Units (APU) to catch fire. The fire burned itself out, causing damage in the APU compartment but otherwise not affecting the landing. The astronauts safely exited the spacecraft without incident. On Dec. 14, NASA ferried Columbia back to KSC to remove the Spacelab module from the payload bay. In January 1984, Columbia returned to its manufacturer, Rockwell International in Palmdale, California, where workers spent the next two years refurbishing NASA’s first orbiter before its next mission, STS-61C, in January 1986.
Left: John W. Young in the shuttle commander’s seat prior to entry and landing. Middle: Space shuttle Columbia lands at Edward Air Force Base in California to end the STS-9 mission. Right: The six STS-9 crew members descend the stairs from the orbiter after their successful 10-day scientific mission.
Left: Workers at Edwards Air Force Base in California safe space shuttle Columbia after its return from space. Middle: Atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Columbia begins its cross country journey to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Right: The STS-9 crew during their postflight press conference at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The journal Science published preliminary results from Spacelab 1 in their July 13, 1984, issue. The two Spacelab modules flew a total of 16 times, the last one during the STS-90 Neurolab mission in April 1998. The module that flew on STS-9 and eight other missions is displayed at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, while the other module resides at the Airbus Defence and Space plant in Bremen, Germany, not on public display.
The Spacelab long module that flew on STS-9 and eight other missions on display at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia.
Enjoy the crew narrate a video about the STS-9 mission. Read Shaw’s, Garriott’s, and Parker’s recollections of the STS-9 mission in their oral histories with the JSC History Office.
Last Updated Nov 28, 2023 Related Terms
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ESA’s first human spaceflight mission lifted off 40 years ago today. Accompanied by the first ESA astronaut, Ulf Merbold, the Spacelab module took flight inside the Space Shuttle’s cargo bay, turning NASA’s ‘space truck’ into a mini-space station for scientific research. Europe continues to be highly active in the crewed module business to this day.
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NASA to Showcase Earth Science Data at COP28
This illustration shows the international Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite in orbit over Earth. SWOT’s main instrument, KaRIn, helps survey the water on more than 90% of Earth’s surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. NASA/JPL-Caltech With 26 Earth-observing satellite missions, as well as instruments flying on planes and the space station, NASA has a global vantage point for studying our planet’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere and deciphering how changes in one drive change in others.
The agency will share that knowledge and data at the 28th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), which brings international parties together to accelerate action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP28 will be held at the Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Thursday, Nov. 30 to Tuesday, Dec. 12.
All U.S. events at COP28 are open to the local press and will be live-streamed on the U.S. Center at COP28 website and the U.S. Center YouTube channel.
NASA takes a full-picture approach to understanding all areas of our home planet using our vast satellite fleet and the data collected from their observations. The agency’s data is open-source and available for the public and scientists to study. NASA is showcasing the data at COP28 to share the different ways it can be used globally. The agency’s complete collection of Earth data can be found here.
The scientific research and understanding developed from NASA’s Earth observations are made into predictive models. Those models can be used to develop applications and actionable science to inform individuals including civic leaders and planners, resource managers, emergency managers, and communities looking to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
These satellites and models are augmented by the observations made from the International Space Station. The inclined, low Earth orbit from the station provides variable views and lighting over more than 90 percent of the inhabited surface of the Earth, a useful complement to sensor systems on satellites in higher-altitude polar orbits.
Closer to the surface, NASA’s aviation research is focused on advancing technologies for more efficient airplane flight, including hybrid-electric propulsion, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Technological advances in these areas have the potential to reduce human impacts on climate and air quality.
At the U.S. Center at COP28, in-person visitors can see the NASA Hyperwall where NASA scientists will provide live presentations showing how the agency’s work supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to encourage a governmentwide approach to climate change. During the hyperwall talks, NASA leaders, scientists and interagency partners will discuss the agency’s end-to-end research about our planet. This includes designing new instruments, satellites, and systems to collect and freely distribute the most complete and precise data possible about Earth’s land, ocean, and atmospheric system. A full schedule of NASA’s hyperwall talks is available.
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9 Min Read Spacelab 1: A Model for International Cooperation
Astronaut John W. Young (left), STS-9 crew commander; and Ulf Merbold, payload specialist, enjoy a meal in the middeck of the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Columbia. Merbold is a physicist from the Federal Republic of Germany, representing the European Space Agency (ESA) on this 10-day flight. Credits: NASA Forty years ago, in 1983, the Space Shuttle Columbia flew its first international spaceflight, STS-9. The mission included—for the first time—the European Space Agency’s Spacelab pressurized module and featured more than 70 experiments from American, Canadian, European, and Japanese scientists. Europeans were particularly proud of this “remarkable step” because “NASA, the most famous space agency on the globe,” included the laboratory on an early Shuttle mission. NASA was equally thrilled with the Spacelab and called the effort “history’s largest and most comprehensive multinational space project.” The Spacelab became a unifying force for all the participating nations, scientists, and astronauts. As explained by one of the mission’s payload specialists, Ulf Merbold, while the principal investigators for the onboard experiments might be British or French, “there is no French science, and no British science [on this flight]. Science in itself is international.” Scientists flying on the mission, and those who had experiments on board, were working cooperatively for the benefit of humanity. As then Vice-President George H. W. Bush explained, “The knowledge Spacelab will bring back from its many missions will belong to all mankind.”1
The knowledge Spacelab will bring back from its many missions will belong to all mankind.
George H. W. Bush
U.S. Vice President (1981–1989)
Training for the flight required international cooperation on an entirely new scale for the American space program. Today it is not unusual to hear about an astronaut training for spaceflight at many different locations and facilities across the globe. NASA’s astronauts have grown accustomed to training outside of the United States for months at a time before flying onboard the International Space Station, but that was not the experience for most of NASA’s flight crews in the agency’s early spaceflight programs. Mission training mainly took place in Houston at the Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) and in Florida at the Cape. The Apollo-era featured only one international flight, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), with astronauts training in the two participating nations: the USSR and the United States.
Pictured from the left are astronaut Owen K. Garriott, Vice President George Bush, and Ulf Merbold of West Germany, inside Spacelab in the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center. This European-built orbital laboratory was formally dedicated on February 5, 1982. Merbold was one of the payload specialists on the first Spacelab flight STS-9, that launched November 28, 1983. Spacelab was a reusable laboratory that allowed scientists to perform various experiments in microgravity while orbiting Earth. Designed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and mounted in NASA’s Space Shuttle cargo bay, Spacelab flew on missions from 1983 to 1997.NASA It also rarely makes news these days when someone who is not a professional astronaut or cosmonaut flies in space. In the past, flying in space was a professional occupation. This all changed with the development of the Space Shuttle and Spacelab, which birthed a new space traveler: the payload specialist. The individuals selected for these positions were not career astronauts. The payload specialists were experts on a specific payload or an experiment, and during the early years of the Space Shuttle program came from a wide variety of backgrounds: the Air Force, Congress, industry, and even the field of education. The principal investigators for this science-based mission selected the payload specialists who flew in space and operated their experiments. Spacelab 1 was unique in providing the first opportunity for a non-American, a European, to fly onboard a NASA spacecraft.
In the summer of 1978, NASA chose scientist-astronauts Owen K. Garriott and Robert A. R. Parker as mission specialists for the Spacelab 1 crew. Garriott, who had been selected as an astronaut in 1965, had flown on America’s first space station as a member of the Skylab 3 crew, a team that exceeded all expectations of flight planners and principal investigators. Parker had also applied to be a scientist-astronaut and was selected in 1967. His class jokingly called themselves the “XS-11” [pronounced excess-eleven], because they had been told there was no room for them in the corps and they would not fly in space, not immediately anyway. Parker worked on Skylab as the program scientist, but once the program ended, he accepted a new title: chief of the Astronaut Office Science and Applications Directorate, where he spent the next few years working on Spacelab matters. It was perfect timing for the astronaut to turn his attention to this international program. Once Skylab ended in 1974, representatives of Europe’s Space Research Organization (ESRO) and members of ERNO, the Spacelab contractor, started traveling to Houston and Huntsville to give the two NASA centers updates on the development of the Spacelab and to hold discussions on the module. In a 1974 press conference, ESRO’s Heinz Stoewer emphasized the “very intense cooperation,” he witnessed “with our friends here in the United States in making this program come true.”2
Around the same time, as Spacelab was being built, the European Space Agency (ESA) began considering who might fly on that first flight. Three days before Christmas in 1977, ESA released the names of their four payload specialist candidates: Wubbo Ockels, Ulf Merbold, Franco Malerba, and Claude Nicollier. Two Americans, Byron K. Lichtenberg and Michael L. Lampton, were selected in the summer of 1978 as potential payload specialists.3
The Spacelab 1 payload crew, which operated the module and the mission’s experiments in the payload bay of the Orbiter, included two mission specialists, Garriott and Parker, and two payload specialists, one from the United States and another from the European Space Agency. The payload crew and their backups began training many years before the Space Shuttle Columbia launched into space on STS-9. (The original launch date of December 1980 kept slipping so the crew ended up training for five years.)4 Training in Europe began in earnest in 1978, while training in the United States and Canada began in 1979.5 Merbold was eventually selected to fly on the mission along with Lichtenberg. The entire payload crew spent so much of their time travelling to Europe that John W. Young, who was then chief of the Astronaut Office, called their flight assignment and European training, which involved travel to exotic locations like Rome, Italy, “a magnificent boondoggle. In my next life,” he declared, “I’ll be an MS [mission specialist] on S Lab [Spacelab].”6
Spacelab-1 prime and back-up science crew members: Mission Specialists Robert Parker and Owen Garriott, with Payload Specialist-1 Ulf Merbold, backup Payload Specialist-2 Michael Lampton, backup Payload Specialist-1 Wubbo Ockels and Payload Specialist-2 Byron Lichtenberg. NASA Lichtenberg recalled the science crew, the prime and backup payload specialists and mission specialists, traveled the globe “like itinerant graduate students … to study at the laboratories of the principal investigators and their colleagues.” In these laboratories, universities, and at research centers across Europe, Canada, and Japan, they learned about the equipment and experiments, including how to repair the hardware if something broke or failed in flight. Lichtenberg felt like he was earning multiple advanced degrees in the fields of astronomy and solar physics, space plasma physics, atmospheric physics, Earth observations, life sciences, and materials science. The benefits of training were numerous, but perhaps the most important were the personal and professional relationships that were built with the investigators from across the world and with his crewmates.7
For the payload specialists, building relationships within the astronaut corps proved to be more complicated. Merbold recalled traveling to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and receiving a warm welcome. “But in Houston you could feel that not everyone was happy that Europe was involved. Some also resented the new concept of the payload specialist ‘astronaut scientist,’ who was not under their control like the pilots. We were perceived to be intruders in an area that was reserved for ‘real’ astronauts.” As an example, the European astronauts could not use the astronaut gym or take part in T-38 flight training. Over time, attitudes changed, and Garriott credited STS-9 Mission Commander John Young with the shift, and so did Merbold. As the crew was preparing to fly, the former moonwalker took Merbold on a T-38 ride, and when the payload specialist asked if he could fly the plane, Young willingly offered him the opportunity. After that flight, Merbold recalled that he “enjoyed John Young’s unqualified support.”8
Friendships blossomed on the six man-crew. Parker called Pilot Brewster H. Shaw and Commander Young “two of [his] best friends to this day.”9 For Merbold, the flight cemented a significant bond between the STS-9 astronauts. He had “no brothers, no sisters,” he was an only child, but the Columbia crew became his family. “My brothers are those guys with whom I trained and flew,” he said.10 Young and Merbold had an especially close bond. Garriott saw that relationship up close on the Shuttle, and later told an oral historian, “Young had no better friend on board our flight than Ulf Merbold.” The two remained close until Young’s death.11
Four of the STS-9 crewmembers enjoying a rare moment of collective fun inside the Spacelab module onboard the Columbia. Left to right are Byron K. Lichtenberg, Ulf Merbold, Robert A. R. Parker, and Owen K. Garriott. The “card table” here is the scientific airlock hatch, and the “cards” are the targets used in the Awareness of Position experiment. NASA Following landing, Flight Crew Operations Directorate Chief George W.S. Abbey told the crew that the science community was “very pleased.”12 The first international spaceflight since ASTP brought scientists, astronauts, and space agencies from across the globe together, laying the foundation for bringing Europe into human spaceflight operations and kicking off a different approach to training and performing science in space. As Spacelab 1 Mission Manager Henry G. Craft and Richard A. Marmann explained, the program “exemplified what can be accomplished when scientists and engineers from all over the world join forces, communicating and cooperating to further advance scientific intelligence.”13 Eventually, the international cooperation Craft and Marmann witnessed led to today’s highly successful International Space Station Program.
Walter Froehlich, Spacelab: An International Short-Stay Orbiting Laboratory (Washington, DC: NASA, 1983); St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 28, 1983. JSC News Release, “Mission Specialists for Spacelab 1 Named at JSC,” 78-34, August 1, 1978; Robert A.R. Parker, interview by author, October 23, 2002, transcript, JSC Oral History Project; “Europeans To Fly Aboard Shuttle,” Roundup, March 29, 1974, 1. “Four European Candidates Chosen for First Spacelab Flight,” ESA Bulletin (February 1978), no. 12: 62; “Two US scientists selected Spacelab payload specialists,” Roundup, June 9, 1978, 4. In the crew report, Parker counted his time monitoring the Spacelab, so he concluded that the mission specialists trained even longer, from 5 to 9 years. “Spacelab Scientists Tour USA,” Space News Roundup, January 12, 1979, 1. Harry G. Craft, Jr. to George W.S. Abbey, February 25, 1982, Spacelab 1 Payload Crew Experiment Training Requirements, Robert A.R. Parker Papers II, Box 28, JSC History Collection, University of Houston-Clear Lake. Byron Lichtenberg, “A New Breed of Space Traveller [sic],” New Scientist, August 1984, 9. ESA, “Ulf Merbold: STS-9 Payload Specialist,” November 26, 2013; ESA, “Ulf Merbold: remembering John Young [1930-2018],” August 22, 2018. Parker interview. ESA Explores, “Time and Space: ESA’s first astronaut,” podcast, November 25, 2020. Owen K. Garriott, interview by Kevin M. Rusnak, November 6, 2000, transcript, JSC Oral History Project; ESA, “Ulf Merbold: remembering John Young.” Garriott interview. Henry G. Craft, Jr., and Richard A. Marmann, “Spacelab Program’s Scientific Benefits to Mankind,” Acta Astronautica 34 (1994): 304. Explore More
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Article 10 years ago About the Author
NASA Human Spaceflight HistorianJennifer Ross-Nazzal is the NASA Human Spaceflight Historian. She is the author of Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe and Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Last Updated Nov 27, 2023 Related Terms
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Record-breaking NASA astronaut Frank Rubio provides the first Spanish-language video tour of humanity’s home in space – the International Space Station.
Rubio welcomes the public aboard the microgravity science laboratory in a behind-the-scenes look at living and working in space recorded during his 371-day mission aboard the space station, the longest single spaceflight in history by an American.
The station tour is available to watch on the agency’s NASA+ streaming platform, NASA app, NASA Television, YouTube, and the agency’s website.
Continuously inhabited for more than 23 years, the space station is a scientific platform where crew members conduct experiments across multiple disciplines of research, including Earth and space science, biology, human physiology, physical sciences, and technology demonstrations that could not be performed on Earth.
The crew living aboard the station are the hands of thousands of researchers on the ground conducting more than 3,300 experiments in microgravity. During his record-breaking mission, Rubio spent many hours contributing to scientific activities aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting everything from human health studies to plant research.
Rubio returned to Earth in September, having completed approximately 5,936 orbits of the Earth and a journey of more than 157 million miles during his first spaceflight, roughly the equivalent of 328 trips to the Moon and back.
Get the latest NASA space station news, images and features on Instagram, Facebook, and X.
Keep up with the International Space Station, its research, and crew at:
María José Viñas
Johnson Space Center, Houston
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