Timeline Events / International Space Station (ISS)
The International Space Station (ISS) project is the first project involving international cooperation to construct a space station, and involving 15 countries, including the US, Russia, members of the EU, Japan and Canada. Astronauts from a number of countries have visited the space station, for example, Marcos Pontes from Brazil and Yi So-yeon from South Korea were the first astronauts to go into space from their respective countries. Construction of the ISS was started at the end of the 1990s and still continues.
This was an epoch marking event for space development in the world, because for the first time the US and Russia cooperated in space development. It can be said that the event was the opening of a new era of space development not for military use.
Although the station is still under construction, it has already been used for various purposes. It is expected that activities in the space station, such as research concerning health and environment, and observation of the earth yield valuable findings for our sustainable development. Success in this project also means the enhancement of our biosphere.
The ISS project and space technology represented by this project can be one of the key technologies for sustainable development in future. At the same time, it can cause controversial arguments from various points of view such as practically or ethically, for example: do the benefits derived from the ISS correspond to the huge investment?; or should we live apart from ‘Mother Earth’ even if it is technologically possible?
Space technology is vital for thinking about sustainability, monitoring, and information, both positively and negatively.
Timeline entry contributed by Hiroko Takuma
Source: JAXA website (see external link), NASA website (see external link), Japanese Government (2009) 'Basic Plan for Space Policy' (see external link)