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The International Space Station past, Present and Future – an Overview

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Chapter Summary

Space stations have been seen as laboratories that will lead mankind to discoveries in medicine, materials, fundamental science and future human space exploration from the beginning of the 20th-century onwards. Due to economic, political, social and cultural priority changes of the United States Government in the 60s, NASA had suffered tremendous budget cuts. The International Space Station (ISS) program Freedom was the result of the program set up by NASA after the presidential mandate. Following the call for international participation Japan, Canada and the European Space Agency (ESA) became partners to the program in 1985. Over 50 assembly and utilization flights will be required for the Station to be completely assembled. The Space Shuttle returned to flight in July 2005, yet there still is no clarity on the launch dates for the various ISS elements. ESA expects the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be operative from 2007 onwards.

Keywords: Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV); European Space Agency (ESA); human space exploration; International Space Station (ISS); NASA; Space Shuttle

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