Living in space
Human spaceflight and space colonization
Since the first, legendary flight by Yuri Gagarin (the first man to go beyond the Earth atmosphere) and the American conquest of the Moon in 1969, colonizing space is a dream human beings cannot get tired of. Its outpost, today, is the International Space Station (ISS).
It is the most important international cooperation programme ever undertaken in the scientific and technological field. Since 2000, when the first permanent crew got onboard, the ISS has been ensuring uninterrupted human presence in space. Once completed, with its seven pressurized laboratories and its nine external platforms, it will provide an orbiting laboratory for scientific and technological research. Aboard the ISS, it will be possible to perform experiments that are nowadays impossible on Earth, in fields ranging from physics to chemistry, from biology to medicine and physiology, and of course in the fields of Earth and Universe observation.
Italy participates in the development and use of the International Space Station through:
- the development, in an ASI/NASA bilateral cooperation, of three Logistics Modules (Leonardo, Raffaello and Donatello) which will transport materials and experiments in a conditioned environment from the earth to the ISS and back. They will also be used as habitation modules once they are docked to the orbiting station;
- the participation in ESA programs for the development of Columbus Laboratory, ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle), CRV (Crew Rescue Vehicle) and cupola;
- the development, through another agreement with ESA, of Nodes 2 and 3, the interconnecting elements among the various pressurized modules of the Station.
In exchange of the fundamental contribution given by ASI (and by the Italian industrial system) to this project, NASA offers Italian astronauts six flight opportunities on the Space Shuttle missions that reach the ISS.
» ASI Space Habitability programs