NASA celebrates 16 years of humans on the International Space Station with GIFs

What were you doing on 2 November 2000? It was a Thursday if that helps job your memory? I was probably in an AS Level class learning about Tsarist Russia, for what it’s worth, but William Shepherd, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko have got better stories: they were on camera, celebrating the first long-duration stay on the International Space Station.

NASA celebrates 16 years of humans on the International Space Station with GIFs

Sixteen years later, and different sets of people have been occupying the ISS continuously for all that time. To celebrate, NASA has released a series of 16 GIFs documenting the ISS’s short history as space’s number-one (and, admittedly, only) holiday resort.

Here are some of the best ones. You can see the full set here.

Here is the Expedition 1 crew enjoying the first-ever extended stay aboard the ISS. This video was taken on 2 November 2000 – 16 years ago yesterday.

11 September 2001 is a day etched into the memories of everybody living on Earth at the time, but the one American living off the planet – Commander Frank Culbertson – managed to capture this unique view of the terrorist attacks that shook the world.

To make up for that depressing image, here’s something more inspiring: the first six-person crew on the ISS gathering for a press conference in 2009. It’s the only time to date that an astronaut from every international partner (NASA, CSA, ESA, JAXA and Russia) was onboard the ISS at the same time.

The Olympic torch goes to space! This video was shot on 9 November 2013, and features cosmonauts Sergey Ryazanskiy and Oleg Kotov taking the torch on a spacewalk ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Ever wondered what happens to fire in space? So did astronaut Reid Weisman. This is the result of the Flex-2 experiment on 18 July 2014.

Is there anything more amazing than a sunset? Astronauts see 16 sunrises and sunsets every day, as the ISS orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, so maybe the amazing view gets old?

A glimpse of the Milky Way, visible when passing over the “night” side of Earth.

And here are astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui sampling lettuce grown in space for the first time. We wrote about that one here.

And this stunning view is an Aurora, something NASA describes as “one of the astronauts’ favourite views from the station.”

You can see the full set of GIFs here.

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