[ti:Space Station Marks 20 Years of People Living in Orbit] [by:www.houshang36.top] [00:00.00]更多听力请访问51VOA.COM [00:00.04]The International Space Station [00:02.04]was just three small rooms when the first crew moved in. [00:07.88]The crew members soon discovered [00:10.48]there was hardly any space for them to move around. [00:15.88]The air was warm and humid, making them feel sticky. [00:23.08]Twenty years and 241 visitors later, [00:26.76]the space station has a lookout tower, [00:29.84]enough space for six people to sleep [00:33.12]and 12 rooms, depending on how you count. [00:38.44]Monday marked 20 years [00:40.96]since people first began living on the space station. [00:46.28]Astronauts from 19 countries have spent time there. [00:52.04]That includes repeat visitors who arrived on spacecraft [00:56.44]for short-term repair or building projects, [01:00.12]and several tourists who paid their own way. [01:05.56]The first crew — American Bill Shepherd [01:09.04]and Russians Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko [01:13.16]— left Earth on October 31, 2000. [01:18.56]Two days later, they opened the doors to the space station, [01:23.72]holding hands in a sign of unity. [01:28.64]Bill Shepherd was the space station's first commander. [01:33.64]He likened his time living there to living on a ship at sea. [01:40.60]The three-man crew spent most of their time [01:43.68]trying to get the equipment to work; [01:47.52]heat from some of the devices made the living space too warm. [01:54.40]Adding machinery and making repairs took hours, [01:58.68]compared to minutes on the ground, Krikalev remembered. [02:04.92]"Each day seemed to have its own set of challenges," [02:08.96]Shepherd said during a recent panel discussion [02:12.24]with his former crewmates. [02:15.40]Their reunion was organized by NASA, the U.S. space agency. [02:23.08]Today the space station is almost as large as a football field [02:28.28]and has three modern laboratories. [02:32.16]The station has enough solar power equipment [02:35.44]to fill almost four-tenths of a hectare, [02:39.04]and enough electrical wiring to stretch 13 kilometers. [02:46.20]Shepherd is long retired from NASA [02:49.20]and lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. [02:53.72]Krikalev and Gidzenko continue to work for the Russian space agency. [03:00.44]The two were involved in the launch of the space station's 64th crew last month. [03:08.44]The first thing the first crew did upon arriving [03:12.28]at the darkened space station on November 2, 2000, [03:17.00]was turn on the lights, which Krikalev recalled as "very memorable." [03:24.08]Then they heated water for hot drinks and activated the lone toilet. [03:32.00]"Now we can live," Gidzenko remembers Shepherd saying. [03:36.56]"We have lights, we have hot water, and we have (a) toilet." [03:43.20]The space station did not come close to hitting any space objects [03:47.84]during their nearly five months up there, Shepherd said, [03:52.16]and the station has held up relatively well. [03:57.12]Today NASA's top concern is the growing threat from space junk. [04:04.24]This year, the space station has had to move around objects three times. [04:11.20]As for life on the space station, [04:13.56]astronauts now have near-continuous communication with flight controllers [04:18.92]and even an internet phone for personal use. [04:24.24]The first crew had periodic radio contact with the ground; [04:28.96]communication problems could last hours. [04:33.88]Astronauts spend most of their six-month stints these days [04:38.72]keeping the space station running and performing science experiments. [04:44.96]A few have even spent close to a year up there on a single flight. [04:51.40]It takes only 90 minutes for the station to circle the world, [04:56.48]giving crew members a chance to enjoy 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets each day. [05:06.32]While more men have served on the space station than women, [05:10.72]more crews today are likely to include women. [05:16.24]Two U.S. women have served as the space station's commander. [05:22.52]Commanders usually are American or Russian, [05:26.88]but have also come from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. [05:35.68]Monday was a major anniversary for the International Space Station. [05:42.40]But the space station has, in fact, spent 22 years in Earth's orbit, [05:49.32]and its first piece was launched into space in 1998. [05:56.84]NASA and its partners say the space station easily [06:01.56]has several years of usefulness left. [06:05.92]Russia's Mir station operated for 15 years in the late 1980s and 1990s. [06:15.12]America's 1970s Skylab spent much less time in space, [06:21.44]as did China's much more recent orbital missions. [06:27.36]Shephard said that the past 20 years of international experience and cooperation [06:34.44]can help massive projects, like possibly sending humans to the planet Mars. [06:42.56]"If you look at the space station program today, [06:46.00]it's a blueprint on how to do it," Shepherd said. [06:50.72]"All those questions about how this should be organized [06:54.56]and what it's going to look like, [06:56.80]the big questions are already behind us." [07:01.48]I'm Jonathan Evans. 更多听力请访问51VOA.COM www9778con