Stellar moments from ISS' 15 years in space

The first section of one of the biggest cooperative construction projects in history was launched in 1998. We look back at 15 historic moments from the International Space Station's first 15 years.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects, and CNET's "Living off the Grid" series Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
One of the International Space Station's solar arrays in orbit above Siberia. Chris Hadfield, CSA, NASA

On November 20, 1998, a relatively small man-made satellite was launched from Kazakhstan to begin an orbit that's still taking place today. Over the 15 years that followed, that first module was added on to and expanded like the most expensive set of tinker toys mankind has ever created to become the International Space Station.

While it was only fully completed in 2011, Wednesday marks 15 years since that first launch and the start of probably the largest cooperative construction project involving multiple nations in human history. During that decade and a half, over 1,500 science experiments have taken place at the ISS, which is also considered one of the United States' National Laboratories.

Representatives from 68 nations have been involved in ISS research, and 15 different nationalities have actually visited the station. Crews on the ISS have eaten about 25,000 meals since 2000 and done over 1,000 hours of spacewalking.

We've compiled 15 of the most historic and memorable moments from 15 years of the ISS, please check them out in the gallery below, and let us know in the comments if you have any other ISS memories we've missed.

Milestone moments from 15 years of the ISS (pictures)

See all photos