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The International Space Station is a phenomenal laboratory, an unparalleled test bed for new invention and discovery. Yet I often thought, while silently gazing out the window at Earth, that the actual legacy of humanity's attempts to step into space will be a better understanding of our current planet and how to take care of it.
If the United States commits to the goal of reaching Mars, it will almost certainly do so in reaction to the progress of other nations - as was the case with NASA, the Apollo program, and the project that became the International Space Station.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
I don't think the space station is innovative. Going to the moon was innovative because we had no idea how to do it.
For the last several years and culminating in six months in orbit next year, I've been training for my third space flight. This one is almost in a category completely different than the previous two, specifically to live in on the space station for six months, to command a space ship and to fly a new rocket ship.
I'm really looking forward to it, if you can imagine floating weightless, watching the world pour by through the big bay window of the space station playing a guitar; just a tremendous place to think about where we are in history.
If you don't like airline food, you'll probably have the same impression of space station food. I would not fly to space for the food.
NASA will send up a big sun shade that will be in orbit between the earth and sun and deflect 2 or 3 percent of the sunshine back into space. It would be cheaper than the international space station.
Building one space station for everyone was and is insane: we should have built a dozen.
We have never lost a crew member on the space station, but of course, the Columbia accident. I was - I'd already been an astronaut for a decade when the crew of Columbia was killed. And I went through test pilot school. Rick Husband and I were out at Edwards at test pilot school together. He was the commander of Columbia.
The Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), which controls the living environment on shuttles and on the International Space Station, doesn't have the luxury of disposal: discharging trash into space has long been judged a bad idea.
I'm a fully trained cosmonaut and have completed 800 hours training, which has made me the No. 1 civilian reserve ready to visit the International Space Station. I am determined to go up, and I want to explore the Moon, Mars and beyond!
I enjoy going out to the plants, the factories where just some sub-element maybe of the orbiter or the space station is built. Those people take such pride in that component, and they build it to perfection, and it's just a pleasure to see that.
Kevin A. Ford
I feel privileged and honored to have flown. It's been a tremendous ride, looking back on the legacy and accomplishments, like the Hubble telescope and the launching of the International Space Station in 1998.
Alan G. Poindexter
Canada has made a strong commitment as a partner in the International Space Station and, like the other partners, wishes to see the assembly of this unique orbiting laboratory continue.
We have to be plumbers, electricians, construction engineers, or workers, on the space station, but at the same time running a laboratory, being scientists, being the best laboratory assistants we can be. It's all in a bundle; it's very exciting, it's a lot of fun.
When we're on the space station, we orbit the Earth 16 times per day, which means we're constantly moving to and away from the sun. From light to shadow, the temperature swings by 300 degrees. Of course we're protected by the gear we wear, but you can definitely feel this temperature change.
Through these ongoing activities and possibly in the future, a Canadian will go live and work on the International Space Station and we will continue to make Canadians proud of our achievements in space.
I think both the space shuttle program and the International Space Station program have not really lived up to their expectations.
We should've asked China to be a portion of the space station. We should've worked out ways that we can... just give away the technology that we have that puts things up into space, with cooperation up above the atmosphere that's needed to help each other.
Manned spaceflight has lost its glamour - understandably so, because it hardly seems inspiring, 40 years after Apollo, for astronauts merely to circle the Earth in the space shuttle and the International Space Station.
There is a project that's underway called the interplanetary Internet. It's in operation between Earth and Mars. It's operating on the International Space Station. It's part of the spacecraft that's in orbit around the Sun that's rendezvoused with two planets.
And then finally, I'm the commander, so I am fundamentally responsible for the lives of the other people on board and the health and longevity of the space station. I need to bring six people back happy, healthy and feeling like they've had the best six months of their life.
The beauty of the space station, and of human spaceflight, is that it is now at a level of maturity where you can invite people on-board, which is what I worked so hard to do on social media and all the videos I made.
Finally my dream came true in that there was a possibility that I could travel to the International Space Station. I've gone through the medicals and the training and now I'm officially, by the Russian Space Federation, a cosmonaut in training.
I think that 'Elysium' the movie is unrealistic, with the space station and everything. I think 'Elysium' the metaphor is completely realistic: it's exactly where we're going.
John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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