International Space Station story told in 15 Gifs

 International Space Station Assembly Animation

From 1998 to 2011, five different space agencies representing 15 countries assembled the International Space Station, the largest structure ever built in space.  Today humans are still living and work in the orbital laboratory. November 2, 2021, will mark the 21st anniversary of continuous human presence on board.

Entry of Expedition 1

Expedition 1 crew members including, Commander William Shepherd and Cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko arrive at the International Space Station for the first time on November 2, 2000.

September 11, 2001

Expedition 3 Commander Frank Culbertson was the only American living off the planet on September 11, 2001. He captured his view of the fateful day from the space station. 


The Japanese Experiment Module, or Kibo, is installed at the space station on June 3, 2008. Kibo means “hope” in Japanese, and it is the largest single space station module.

First 6-person Crew

The first 6 person crew on the space station gathers for a press conference on May 29, 2009.  Because it was comprised of astronauts from NASA, CSA, ESA, JAXA, and Russia, this was the first and only time all international partners were represented on the space station at the same time. 

SpaceX Dragon

The space station’s robotic arm captures the SpaceX Dragon during its demonstration flight on May 25, 2012, making it the first commercial vehicle ever to dock with the space station.

Olympic Torch

Russian Cosmonauts Sergey Ryanzanskiy and Oleg Kotov bring the Olympic torch outside the space station during a spacewalk on November 9, 2013. The torch traveled to the station as part of the Olympic torch relay ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

Testing Fire in Space

Astronaut Reid Weisman captured a floating sphere of fire observed during the Flex-2 experiment on the space station on July 18, 2014. The findings may lead to better engines here on Earth. 


Astronaut Reid Weisman’s timelapse of a flickering aurora was seen from the space station on August 28, 2014.


Astronaut Reid Weisman’s timelapse of what a sunrise looks like from the space station on September 23, 2014.

Water Bubbles

Astronaut Reid Weisman experiments with water bubbles in space on November 8, 2014.


Astronauts Terry Virts and Barry “Butch” Wilmore capture the first GoPro footage of a spacewalk on February 25, 2015.


Astronaut Terry Virts filmed a massive lightning storm over India from the space station on May 9, 2015.

Milky Way

Astronaut Terry Virts captured a stunning view of the Milky Way from the space station on May 15, 2015.


Astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, and Kimiya Yui taste lettuce were grown and harvested in space for the first time on August 10, 2015.

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