Space station mission has changed

July 11, 2006

It's been 22 years since U.S. President Ronald Reagan proposed building the International Space Station, but its mission has since radically changed.

Initially the ISS was conceived as a laboratory for developing medicines and experimenting with a wide variety of substances, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Today, while only half finished, the station's primary mission has been shifted by President George W. Bush to support his plan of sending astronauts to the moon, Mars and beyond.

"As it was originally planned, the space station would be a facility for all users," Donald Thomas, NASA's space station program scientist, told the Post. He said any researcher with an interesting experiment would have been welcomed aboard the ISS.

Today, said Thomas, the ISS is being used to study such problems as how to keep kidney stones -- as well as bone and muscle loss -- from developing in astronauts and why astronauts' immune systems deteriorate while they are in space.

And experiments planned at the ISS include learning how to control bowling-ball-sized satellites that might be used in space missions.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: NTU successfully launches its 7th satellite into space

Related Stories

Image: ISS transits the moon

January 20, 2017

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is the International Space Station as it flies in front of the moon as seen from ESA's space science centre near Madrid, Spain, on 14 January.

Recommended for you

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

Image: Wavemaker moon Daphnis

January 20, 2017

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small ...

Video: A colorful 'landing' on Pluto

January 20, 2017

What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip ...

The evolution of massive galaxy clusters

January 20, 2017

Galaxy clusters have long been recognized as important laboratories for the study of galaxy formation and evolution. The advent of the new generation of millimeter and submillimeter wave survey telescopes, like the South ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.