WASHINGTON: The International Space Station (ISS) has completed 15 years of continuous human presence and to mark the event NASA has released an official 'country song' that describes the epic journey.
Expedition 1, the first station crew, docked November 2, 2000 after launching two days earlier inside the Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft.
The space station at the time consisted of just three modules. Commander William Shepherd and Flight Engineers Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko spent 141 days in space, saw two space shuttle missions and the addition of a solar array truss structure and the US Destiny laboratory module.
The US space agency released a delightful video about the space orbiting lab, set to a very country and banjo-filled tune.
The video details interesting facts about the station in twanging verse, according to 'The Verge'.
It also explains the station's logistics: it's about the size of a football field and weighs up to 1 million pounds.
The current six-member crew, Expedition 45, consists of NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren, Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui and veteran cosmonauts Sergey Volkov, Mikhail Kornienko and Oleg Kononenko. Kelly and Kornienko are spending nearly a year in space.
The crew worked a wide variety of lab maintenance and advanced science exploring how life adapts to long-term space missions with potential benefits to Earth-bound humans and future astronauts.
"I congratulate all of the men and women at NASA and around the world who have worked so hard to keep the International Space Station operational these past 15 years," said John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
"Since 2000, human beings have been living continuously aboard the space station, where they have been working off-the-Earth for the benefit of Earth, advancing scientific knowledge, demonstrating new technologies, and making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
NASA also released an infographic that presents interesting facts about the space station, along with a list of how things have changed since the Expedition 1 in 2000.