By Laura Niles
International Space Station Program Science Office and Public Affairs Office
NASA’s Johnson Space Center
From the first space station module, named Zarya, placed in orbit on November 20, 1998 to 2011’s construction completion, the facilities of the International Space Station provide powerful, safe and efficient laboratory capabilities for the more than 1,502 research investigations conducted to date on the orbiting laboratory. The space station provides a microgravity environment for researchers to conduct experiments in biology and biotechnology, human research, Earth and space science, physical science, and technology demonstrations, among a multitude of others, in what was only an engineering schematic just 15 years ago. In that time, space station educational activities on orbit have reached more than 42 million students across the globe. Further, the space station serves as a stepping-stone to deeper space exploration, demonstrating the essentials of long-term living in space.